As a Catholic Carmelite boys College, it is important that we highlight the significant impact females have in our community and in our lives. Gender equity is a worldwide issue and if we are serious about preparing our boys to act justly in a contemporary world, we must also model this appreciation for our boys. At our annual International Women’s Day lunch, our College Vice-Captain, Adrian De Saram delivered an address which captures this spirit perfectly.
Good afternoon and welcome to this year’s International Women’s Day lunch, especially a warm welcome to the female staff and teachers of our College. It is a great privilege and honour to speak with you all today as we gather as a community, for a day devoted towards the celebration of the incredible women of the world and all of you, the female members of our Whitefriars community.
When we think of the important women in our lives, we can often reflect on our mothers, sisters, guardians or a female mentor. Our school motto, “Almae In Fide Parentis” invites us to look towards Mary, the loving mother, as a crucial female in our lives. However, it’s not as often that we take the time to recognise the importance of all of you, the staff and teachers who play such an integral part within our endeavours as students. Through your numerous roles at our College, whether that be through teaching, supporting, administration, the canteen, reception and so much more, you each provide us with a pathway to follow and a hand that we can always rely on; through your work. The countless unnoticed hours of hard work, dedication and passion that you show us, have built us boys to what you see today.
International Women’s Day also provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the monumental steps we have already made but the hardships that we are yet to overcome. We still find ourselves in a conflicting period of time. Stereotypes from around the world are being challenged, as a more diverse representation of women is becoming increasingly evident. We only have to look at the incredible achievements of the likes of Ash Barty and Rosie Batty to see this. But the finish line is still far from sight. Issues such as the gender pay-gap, domestic violence and women empowerment in politics are still alive and prominent today. That is why we must continue to gather and build from days like this. We must continue in educating our Whitefriars boys about the importance of gender parity, incorporating this year’s theme for International Women’s Day of #EachforEqual, as we aim to create a community united by the common goal for equality. So that we can be proud in knowing that we have moulded our proud rich history as a catholic school for boys into a movement for the rights for all, so that finish line, can get just a little bit closer.
Once again, I thank you for the outstanding work you all have contributed towards Whitefriars over the years. So, I only ask you all to continue in your efforts. I know that we may not listen all the time, but I promise you, what you say does have a lasting impact on us. So, to the boys in the room helping out, I ask you to stand up against inequality and challenge the toxic behaviours of others including your own mates. This fight is a collective effort.
I know that soon International Women’s Day will not be confined to a single day of the year, and instead everyone equally, will be celebrated every day. As Maya Angelou put it; “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. And I hope you all know how grateful we feel to have you. Thank you.