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The generation who will generate change!

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and the subsequent Platform for Action agenda, widely recognized as the most progressive road map for advancing the rights of women and a notable step towards achieving global gender equality.

Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8th, a worldwide event acknowledging the achievement of women on a global scale. The associated series of events provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress which has been made thus far and to recognize the generation who will continue to advance the agenda for gender equality now and in the future.

The campaign slogan for this year “I am Generation Equality[i] is an acknowledgement of the spirit of the current generation of young people in our schools, referred to as Gen Z and Gen Alpha, for those born 2010 and beyond. Growing up in a complex and often volatile global environment, Gen Z and Gen Alpha are quite unlike any other.  Whilst Millennials are often referred to as the “Me Generation” with a focus on the self, these generations are anchored collectively by their inherent search for truth – the “True Gen[ii]!

This nuance can be observed in their day to day behavior, willing to mobilize for causes and their desire to avoid narrow labels. They demonstrate authentic ethical concerns and have a belief in the efficacy of dialogue to improve the condition of the world in which they live. Causes championed on a global stage by notable female figures such as Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg have garnered much attention and deservedly so; however, it is not merely the celebrated few who will make an impact in our journey towards sustainable equality.

At The Knox School, we are proud to be a part of an environment that recognizes, celebrates and supports equality across all aspects of our community. Underpinned by an ethos of Collective Individualism, we recognize that we are all part of a collective whole: students, staff, parents and the wider TKS landscape. Championing the individualism of each member of our community, we unify under our shared School Values and collaborate to make an impact on the world around us.

The IWD 2020 campaign purports that “an equal world is an enabled world.” At TKS, we strive to enable our students to not only survive, but to thrive within the world in which they will find themselves. To achieve this, we recognize that it is our responsibility to safeguard equal access to all opportunity. We endeavor to personalize the experience for each student ensuring they feel a sense of value and personal belonging. We avoid stereotypes and we uphold inclusivity.

We see this in action every day as our students take on new challenges, embracing diverse opportunities with endless possibilities. In removing all barriers to what can be achieved, we generate the potential for our students to grow unharnessed by stereotypes or gender bias. Through our range of courses and co-curricular programs, we provide a secure framework for them to develop as individuals and a safe platform for their voice to be heard.

We understand the significance of alignment between rhetoric and reality; in other words, we don’t just talk the talk, we also walk the walk! Embracing the spirit of #eachforequal this International Women’s Day, Staff and Students at The Knox School will strike the “each for equal” pose in a series of selfies celebrating the collective strength of our TKS community.  The images will be on display on the screens around the TKS campus and through our social media channels using the hashtags: #eachforequal, #iwd2020 and #findyourniche.

As we celebrate IWD 2020 through the series of events at The Knox School, I encourage you to reflect on not only the array of strong and influential women in your life, but also on the importance of equality within our community and how privileged we are to experience that day to day.

At TKS we will continue to support and enable our current generation of students to discover their individual voice and empower their sense of collective agency to ensure they can be the generation to generate the change the world so badly needs.

[i] https://www.internationalwomensday.com/2020Theme

[ii] https://www.mckinsey.com

Nikki Kirkup

Nikki Kirkup is Deputy Principal of The Knox School

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