As I wrote this blog, I was sitting in the airport on Sunday morning preparing to leave for a National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) Trustees’ Meeting taking place at the Atlanta Girls’ School. Our association is just over twenty five years old, and its purpose is to be the leading advocate for girls’ schools, connecting and collaborating globally with individuals, schools and organizations dedicated to educating and empowering girls. What a purpose that is.
Our girls’ schools work hard to empower girls and young women to be their authentic selves and to lead within their communities and beyond. At St. Clement’s, our leadership framework, based on Kouzes and Posner’s Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership is a guide for our girls and reminds them of the importance of modelling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process, enabling others to act and encouraging the heart. Beyond this framework, the availability of role models and support to enact these important practices is vital, and, at St. Clement’s, girls from Grades 1-12 provide these each and every day.
With so many discussions and issues affecting girls and women from #MeToo to the need for increased women in the C suite, on boards, in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and politics, the need for our girls’ schools couldn’t be stronger.
As Christy Clark, past Premier of British Columbia, wrote in an opinion piece in The Globe and Mail entitled, “Turning #MeToo Into a Tangible Shift for Female Leaders,” “For young women who are just getting started today: your mothers and your grandmothers made huge strides for women and you will reap those benefits. But the fight against workplace discrimination is not won yet. Most of you are still destined to be underestimated, underpaid and sometimes disrespected because of your gender.”
As NCGS says, “Our job, quite simply, is to advance the efforts of girls’ schools. Why? We believe they play a vital role in helping young women develop their authentic voices and use them, loudly and proudly.”