Leading by example

DOVES Council member and Brisbane Waters Secondary College student Charli Grant reflects on the significance of International Women’s Day.

Four people , two students and two presenters on a TV set. Four people , two students and two presenters on a TV set.
Image: Fellow DOVES member Farzam Zaher with Charli Grant on the set of ABC Weekend Mornings set talking with the presenters about the return to school this year.

Across the world there are numerous examples of inspirational women doing extraordinary things. Personally, I value the skills required to be an effective leader. That is why it is so important that we can look to women in powerful roles to better understand what it to be a woman that leads.

Sarah Mitchell, the NSW Minister for Education, manages to change our way of learning for the better whilst still leading a normal life. Kim Rodenburg, a teacher at Kingscliff’s High School, has this incomprehensible ability to make you achieve more and see yourself as more without worrying about what everybody else thinks. Katrina Stuve is a Department of Education employee who has shown me what it means to be a dedicated worker who always smiles. Lastly my mother has shown me that anything is possible with the right amount of determination and a kind personality.

Those four women all have many things in common however the most relevant to the celebrations of today is that they are women. Women who lead in different ways, women who have played a role in what my life has looked like so far.

Someone who has inspired me with achievements of her own is Emma Watson (English actress and activist) with her speech about gender equality. Her moving speech led me to understand the importance of destroying the doubt that your mind conjures up about your capabilities. Instead you must think, “If not me, who? If not now, when?” Her endorsement for this campaign has shown me that all it takes to make a change is one person who is willing to stand up and make a difference, one person who is willing to lead without any followers, at first, then gain a whole army.

Currently, I am a part of the DOVES Student Council, an initiative that strives to change the education system for the better by sharing our own experiences as well advocating for the students around New South Wales. This council is made up of a variety of people of all ages and both genders. From this council I have learned what it means to be a leader at such a young age. I am striving to one day become an influential part of society. I am ambitious to go to university to study international law, work for the United Nations and even one day become the Prime Minister. These goals wouldn’t even be a possibility without being surrounded by the women I am witnessing and the courageous acts they do.

This year's theme of Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow is an important idea because women haven’t always been able to stand up and lead without consequences.

I think ensuring the female leaders in society have a sustainable future is crucial to the world we live in. Now in society I believe it is expected to have strong-willed women ready to fight to make changes in this world. It is expected to have women who are willing to do whatever it takes to implement positive change.

To all the women out there in the world today, thank you for all you have done. You are a true inspiration and I hope you find some way to celebrate being a woman today.

*The Department of Student Voices in Education and Schools (DOVES) council is the peak body representing student voice to the Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell.

  • Student voices
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