On Friday 8 March I had the privilege of attending the 2019 Adelaide International Women’s Day Breakfast, along with seven of our Senior School students and four female members of staff. The Adelaide breakfast is the largest Annual Women’s Event on the Adelaide calendar, attracting almost 2,700 guests. The morning was hosted by Senator the Hon Penny Wong. Jane Caro, social commentator, writer and lecturer, was also in attendance as special guest speaker. All funds raised from the event were donated to UN Women National Committee (NC) Australia.
The breakfast provided a wonderful opportunity for community members and leaders to come together, united in the ongoing pursuit of equality for women. Below are the thoughts of some students and staff who attended the breakfast as representatives from Saints:
The fact that most surprised me from the IWD Breakfast was about women in the workforce. I was surprised that when women took time off to have a baby, it was often very hard for them to get back into work. Jane Caro told us these facts. She also informed us about how women are getting paid less than men, and how men could be taking time off from their work to look after young children more often.
Austin Brooks, Year 7
What I learnt is that we need to make equality real, not just for women, but for everyone, regardless of race, religion, sexuality, gender and background. Being a boys only school means we can go a long way to achieving this lofty goal.
Noah Latimer, Year 7
The number of people there was quite incredible, especially as it sold out in 25 minutes! It shows how much the issue of gender equality means to people in Adelaide. What interested me most was how much being a mother impacts women’s careers.
Charlie Wells, Year 9
I left the Convention Centre inspired by the speakers, who each spoke in depth about the impact the influential women in their lives had on them, as well as the importance of being role models to the next generation of young women. What is critical is the pressing need to cut out the stigma surrounding sexism and any discrimination on the basis of one’s identity. I hope St Peter’s can continue to attend this breakfast and leave more young men like myself inspired to support this cause.
Connor Murphy, Year 10
What inspired me the most about the breakfast was the superannuation retirement gap. I found it quite surprising that on average women receive half the amount of a male on retirement. This has been happening over many years without out us creating a solution for it. The IWD Breakfast is excellent for young people to learn about equality and create a future that is equal for all.
George Ilic, Year 10
The key takeaway for me from the IWD breakfast is that there is still work to be done. As community and business representatives, we need to lobby the Government to improve gender pay parity especially in regards to superannuation. What I reflected on most from the breakfast was the fact that women over 55 are the fastest growing cohort of homeless people in Australia, with years spent out of the workforce contributing to lower superannuation funds, lower incidence of home ownership, and lower personal wealth overall to draw on in retirement. I was also impressed with the knowledge and interest shown by our students.
Danielle Finnimore, Director of Human Resources
I had a great time at the breakfast and there were many standouts for me, but I think the biggest was the students we spent time with. Having known many of them from the Junior School, and teaching some of them in Year 3, it was so uplifting and re-affirming to hear them talk so eloquently and with such respect about equality. They listened intently and engaged in conversation around the table with ease.
Ceri Slinger, Head of Junior Years – Learning and Teaching