This issue’s welcome article features Allison Prandolini Head of Girls’ Junior School
I write this reflection from Auckland, New Zealand. Having arrived yesterday for a study tour with the IPSHA (Independent Primary School Heads of Australia) Federal Board, I took the day today to explore this beautiful city. Walking through the town, I was impressed with the friendly vibes, and lovely city feel. As I strolled towards the Auckland Art Gallery, I stumbled upon a beautiful monument to the role of women in the history of New Zealand. It was fascinating to be reminded that New Zealand was the first country to allow women to vote in political elections. Kate Sheppard led a campaign around the country for women to vote, and in 1893, a petition of 32,000 names (almost one-quarter of all adult women in the country) was presented to the New Zealand Parliament. The Electoral Bill of 1893 was passed in parliament by 20 votes to 18! Kate Sheppard is now immortalised on the $10 bill.
Kate and her compatriots are inspiring women for young Kiwi women, just like our Tintern founder, Mrs Emma B Cook, is for our community. Mrs Cook stood up for her children, creating a school to inspire and offer them a first-class education when she could not find one in her local area. She was a risk-taker and demonstrated that her deeds, not words, could make a difference in many lives. Because of her, our students have the opportunities they enjoy today.
This week across the world, people will be pausing to reflect and consider International Women’s Day. In the Girls’ Junior School, this is a special week for us, but to be honest, this is something that we celebrate every day! Over the past few years, our focus has been to empower young girls to believe that they can do anything, and that confidence comes when we are brave, not perfect. Research (Kay and Shipman) tells us that between the ages of 8-14, girls’ confidence drops by approximately 30%. At Tintern, we are working to combat that! Girls are taught the power of their thoughts, are encouraged to reflect upon their emotions, and work with their peers to support each other. Our girls can indeed do anything!
Over the past few weeks, we have been reflecting on how fortunate we are, comparing our lives to others, such as women in Afghanistan. On Friday, the girls in the Junior School will be running in a Colour Run to have fun and celebrate that we have the freedom in our country to run whenever we like. How fortunate our young women are! It will be messy, it will be fun, and it will be a joyous celebration of International Women’s Day for young girls.
I am disappointed to be overseas for the inaugural Tintern International Women’s Day Breakfast, however, take pride that our community values and respects women in such a manner. I wish all women in our community a very happy International Women’s Day and hope that you, too, have an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for the women in your life who have paved the way for your success.
Allison Prandolini | Head of Girls’ Junior School