Girls set to become future leaders at Australia’s largest girls-only student leadership event

Article by Teva Smith
Alliance of Girls' Schools / 21 January 2019

168 girls from 75 girls’ schools got the ultimate leadership boost at the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia’s Student Leadership Conference this January at the largest girls-only leadership event of its kind in Australia, held at The Women’s College, within the University of Sydney.

Students travelled from around Australia and New Zealand and as far afield as Zimbabwe, the Philippines and the United States to take part in the much-anticipated four-day event.

The importance of the conference was reaffirmed by new research1 from the Australian Gender Equality Council, which revealed that leadership development is one of three key activities that builds self-confidence in girls.

Alliance Executive Officer Loren Bridge said the program supports attendees in becoming effective and motivational leaders during their final year of school.

‘In addition to developing life-long friendships and connections with other young leaders, the conference focuses on developing leadership capability and assisting our students to manage the responsibilities of leadership. We can’t wait to witness the impact of their leadership in their schools and wider communities in 2019 and no doubt in the decades to come,’ said Loren.

‘Women still hold less than 17% of CEO positions in Australia2, so it’s vital we give this generation of girls the tools to get into the C-suite.

‘Girls in single-sex schools have an advantage in the leadership stakes already. They hold every leadership position in their schools — from captain of the cricket and debating teams to president of the science and coding clubs. This diversity of opportunity and lack of gender stereotyping gives girls the confidence and experience to tackle any career or leadership role they may choose,’ she said.

Queensland students said the conference would allow them to connect with like-minded girls and provide new perspectives on leadership.

Year 12 Communications Leader at St John Fisher College Feba Philip said places at the conference are highly coveted.

‘I’m incredibly honoured and privileged to be attending the conference where I’m sure to experience things out of my comfort zone, to meet like minded people and enhance my leadership skills. I believe it will inspire me and give me a new perspective that can help me change our little corner of the world,’ said Feba.

Fellow Queensland participant, Imogen Ryan-Kerr, from Moreton Bay College said she was immensely excited about the event.

‘I believe that I will really benefit from the conference, as the opportunity to meet new people from across the globe and participate in different activities will allow me to develop my leadership skills further and gain more of an understanding about how to lead,’ said Imogen.

New South Wales students said the conference would allow them to connect with like-minded girls and provide new perspectives on leadership.

Kate Jacobs, Head Prefect at Meriden School said the highly coveted conference was an incredible opportunity for young women to build their leadership skills.

‘We can’t wait to can learn how to become better leaders as we look to lead the next generation,’ said Kate.

Fellow NSW attendee Lauren Hocking, Senior Captain from Brigidine College St Ives, said she was thrilled to get one of the highly coveted places to attend the conference.

‘I hope to return to my school this year inspired and ready to share what I have learnt with all my peers,’ said Lauren.

During the event students will hear from well-known gender equality and women’s empowerment advocate Julie McKay, currently the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) at PwC. Queenslander and past Brisbane Girls Grammar School student, Julie, was previously Executive Director of UN Women Australia and Gender Advisor to the Chief of the Australian Defence Force.