Seeking ‘an equal world’

IGS Head Girl Astrid McKinley shared her thoughts on feminism as IGS celebrated International Women's Day

“International Women’s Day recognises the continual inequality between men and women in our society,” Astrid said.

“The theme for this International Women’s day is ‘An equal world is an enabled world’. This day focuses on the celebration of women’s achievements, recognising how far we have come but how far we still have to go.

“I didn’t call myself a feminist till I was about 13. Back then, I thought feminism was corsets and the right to vote and didn’t really see the relevance it had to me. Growing up, I had had no limitations to what I could achieve until I slowly realised that the gender I was born into placed limitations no matter what my abilities were.

“Now I know what a feminist is, I know why I need to be one.”

She described feminism as a range of social movements that aim to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes.

“It is not a personality trait or specific set of rules that restrict you from feminine indulgences. It is different for every person. My feminism may look different to yours but the values are universal.

“Every person deserves an education and equal opportunities. Every person deserves to be able to choose the career they go into and be respected in that environment. Every person deserves to be commended for their achievements and the things that they do well. And finally, every person deserves to exercise their human rights regardless of their gender.

“When reflecting back on the theme for this International Women’s Day, “An equal world is an enabled world”, I wondered what problems could really be resolved with gender equality and how important is it in this day and age?

“Well, first climate change.

“Statistically, the most practical and cost effective way to reduce climate change would be the education of girls and women’s reproductive rights.

“In terms of economic growth, if 10 per cent of the girls in a country are educated, they increase the GDP of that country by 3 per cent. Then women reinvest up to 90 per cent of their income into their families, which triggers both local economic growth as well as social transformation. For each extra year of primary schooling, girls will earn 10 to 20 per cent more when they start working.”

She encouraged every IGS High School student to reflect on how they could make a positive change to combat gender inequality.