Headmasters Blog

International Women's Day 2019

Tomorrow, Friday 8 March, communities around the globe celebrate International Women's Day. The theme #BalanceforBetter is aimed at creating a more balanced world where everyone has a part to play, all the time, everywhere.

International Women's Day has roots dating back to 1917 when women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia. March 8 became a national holiday and was celebrated predominantly by the socialist movement and communist countries until the United Nations adopted it in 1975. The rest, as they say, is history.

1938-boarding-school-college-maids-matrons.jpgSince those early years, International Women's Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women's movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women's conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women's rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.

The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. Since then, the UN has helped create a historic legacy of internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals to advance the status of women worldwide.1950s-students-nurse-mud.jpg

Over the years, the UN and its technical agencies have promoted the participation of women as equal partners with men in achieving sustainable development, peace, security, and full respect for human rights. The empowerment of women continues to be a central feature of the UN's efforts to address social, economic and political challenges across the globe.

At Scotch College, we believe a balanced world is a better world, hence a balanced school staff. Women teachers (total females: 93, percentage: 51.6%) and non-teachers (total females: 84, percentage: 53%) play a significant role in the growth and development of our boys. Of course, the most significant role played by women in the life of our boys is by their mums. We thank them for the marvelous contribution they make to their sons, families and the wider community.

The United Nations has this to say about International Women's Day:

International Women's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. International Women's Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe.

On this very important day, let us remember all the women who have inspired each of us, whether professionally or personally. As an Independent Boys' school, we have a duty to ensure our young boys and men appreciate the role women play in their lives and the wider society. As the 2019 slogan rightly highlights 'Balance is for the Better'.

As a male leader of an Independent Boys' School in Western Australia, let me simply say this; my greatest career break was presented to me by a female Principal and throughout my career I have had four outstanding female leaders whose charisms and role modelling remains with me today and will do for many years to come.

Finally, while we both hold professional positions, my own career could not have progressed without the unconditional support of my wife.

I hope we all get time to celebrate International Women's Day and reflect on the role women have and will continue to play in our lives.



Dr Alec O'Connell FACE, FAIM, FNAAUC

As Scotch College's 7th Headmaster, I focus on preparing boys for life through focusing on values and cultural alignment.

I am a passionate educator focussed on student and community engagement. My goal as a Headmaster is to graduate future thought leaders who are prepared for life after school.

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