Abbotsleigh celebrates IWD, #PressforProgress and STEM




It has been an incredible week at Abbotsleigh. In Senior School assembly on Monday 2 March, we celebrated International Women's Day and welcomed Old Girl, Katie Rigg-Smith (1996), the Australasian CEO of Mindshare, who delivered an inspirational talk to our girls. We later opened STEM Street in the Junior School. 
Olivia Taylor, Head Boarder Prefect, began the assembly with an excellent overview of the importance of International Women's Day (IWD) and gender equity. As Olivia said, it is most fitting that this year's theme for IWD is #PressforProgress. Much progress has certainly been made, but there is still a long way to go. 'IWD is about taking risks, and being motivated to call for change and fronting up to our responsibility to shape a world where all women can have access to opportunity.' 

Katie Rigg-Smith continued with the theme #PressforProgress with three very wise pieces of advice for our girls:

  1. Learn your craft. Be the very best you can be at the job you are doing now – whether this be school work, learning at university or whatever position you hold – become the expert in that position.
  2. Work together with men to create gender equity. Real progress can only be made if we all work together.
  3. Extend the ladder down. Once you have reached a certain position, help other women to climb the ladder too. We all need to help each other as we #PressforProgress.

Our girls were certainly inspired by Katie and many have not stopped talking about her great message. 

The timing of International Women's Day was also our impetus to highlight the significant focus we have had on STEM at Abbotsleigh for many years.  

On Monday evening, the Senior School celebrated our girls' achievements in Mathematics and Science through the Ruth Sanger Awards evening. This year, not only were we impressed by the great achievements of our amazing girls, but we were also impressed with the beautiful musical items and with the way in which a number of girls spoke so confidently about their experiences. A panel of Year 8 and 9 girls told us about the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) projects in which they were involved last year, then three Year 12 girls spoke most passionately about their experiences in, and love for, Mathematics and Science. Jacinta Lin fascinated the audience with her speech on 'The Elegance of Mathematics' and Hannah Loh and Elizabeth Luu inspired the girls with their tales about the National Science Youth Forum in Canberra held in January. 

I would like to thank all the girls involved, and our excellent Mathematics and Science Departments for organising this very special annual event. 

The pinnacle of our STEM celebrations, the official opening of our Junior School STEM Street and our Maker Education and Science spaces, was held yesterday. As Ms Ruston said, it was most fitting that this occurred on International Women's Day, itself 'because our opening … makes demonstrably visible our commitment to seeing our Abbotsleigh Junior School girls as being confident learners, problem solvers, critical thinkers, ethic consumers and leaders in innovation in the domains of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.'  


Enjoy some images of the day below.







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