Head of PDHPE

Sugar and spice and all things not nice!

Although the title may suggest otherwise, this is not a cliché PDHPE spill in educating you on the ins and outs of a balanced diet. Rather, I’ll use this platform as a means to openly advocate for the need to continuously address the unbalanced (not nice) society that women endure and the need to continuously fight for a positive change in setting a hopeful future for our girls.

It took me an enduring 14 years of hardships to realise that feminism is me. Growing up in a large, yet conservative Catholic Italian family, an adolescent feminist was as common as a rainbow. You may see them occasionally after a downpour –  ‘a period of adversity’ – however rarely do they shine frequently. I vividly recall the constant battles with my parents about unequal chore distribution and a different set of rules to my brother, as well as questioning my religion teacher at school about why girls couldn’t become priests. As a PDHPE teacher and a woman in a leadership position, it has compelled me even further to confront and reject my internalised, misogynism-filled teen years, which tried to keep me in line and prevent me from speaking my truth about the value of being female.

I still very much stand by my philosophy that the best way to make a positive impact on tomorrow’s future is by inspiring today’s generation of future leaders. In PDHPE at Loreto, we have the very important task of mentoring and educating young women in topics such as sexual harassment, domestic violence, body image, pay disparity, flexible working conditions and the media’s (mis)representation of women. In Australia, women still earn 14% less than their male counterparts and there is a significant difference in gender pay rates for those in corporate, medical, media and sporting organisations. In fact, women on average will need to work more than 70 additional days each year to catch up on the earnings of men. Through greater investigation into topics such as these, our girls can make a huge difference to the functioning of our society. It is one small step forward in uplifting greater empowerment and creating resilient women.

How many times have you seen female sport being televised live compared to men’s – with a full stadium of supporters? At Loreto, we are lucky to be surrounded by so many ‘supporters’ who happen to be strong, inspiring women  emulating how to shatter that glass ceiling. Although we’re starting to reach a level of cultural relevance in rectifying gender imbalance through various media movements, there’s still such a huge gap to fill in strengthening and reaffirming the value of women and the difference our students can make. Both genders need more education and activism opportunities about the importance of gender equality. It should not solely be up to women, but also men, to rally and establish a social justice voice. Fairness surrounding equal rights for women can’t always come from the top down; it must be built from the bottom up.

Therefore, we will continue to empower our students to not shy away from talking about difficult topics. If they see injustice, we will encourage them to say something and ensure there’s a safe platform to do so. Let’s not underestimate the power of our women and continue to instill the prophecy of Mary Ward that “Women in time to come will do much”.

 

Ms Marie Bugge

Head of PDHPE