New research from the Australian Gender Equality Council identified leadership development as one of three key activities that build self-confidence in girls.
Based on a survey of over 10,000 students in Years 7 to 11 from Queensland’s top girls’ and boys’ schools, the study demonstrated that for girls in single-sex schools, there is absolutely no gender difference in this important workplace entry attribute.
While research shows that women still hold less than 17% of CEO positions in Australia, a major push is underway to change that by engaging girls in the skills needed to thrive in the future workforce.
Women in STEM, Curious Minds, Girls4Tech, Digital Divas, SHE Leads and Engaging Girls in STEM are just a small handful of other initiatives driving improved female engagement in Australia’s high-growth industries.
This week, Australia’s largest ever girls-only leadership event will kick off at The Women’s College in the University of Sydney this week.
The Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia’s (AGSA) Student Leadership Conference, which runs over four days, will bring together 168 girls from 75 girls’ schools across Australia in a push to boost their self-confidence.
AGSA 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,” Bridge said.
“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.”
Bridge said given the relatively low number of women in executive positions throughout Australia, it is vital that schools and communities 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,” Bridge said.
“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.”
NSW 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,” Jacobs said.
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,” Hocking said.
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 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.