From the Rector
We were blessed by the House Athletics Carnival for Years 3 to 12 this week. It is a fun day for the students, families and the House competition. The Year 3 to 6 students made the journey from the Junior School and participated in events on the main oval at the Senior School. The Year 7 to 12s participated in many events on the top ovals, representing their respective Houses – Xavier, Campion, Kostka, and Regis. While Campion scored well for the Junior School and Xavier for the Senior School, we were grateful for the efforts by all and the enjoyment we shared together.
We celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March. This year's theme, Generation Equality, invites us to imagine a world where all people have equal rights and opportunities. Imagine women and girls are not afraid of walking home late at night, and men and boys are not trapped in oppressive masculinities. Imagine men and women get paid equally for work of equal value and share the care work at home. Imagine there is gender equality in political leadership and corporate boardrooms, and on factory floors. Imagine women have equal say in decisions that affect their lives, their bodies, their policies, and their environment, from villages to cities.
Several years ago, a survey asked: “What do you do on a daily basis to manage your fear of being sexually assaulted?” The results showed a striking gender difference. Nearly every man was surprised by the question and basically answered, “Nothing.” For women, the answers were equally unanimous. Women spoke of clutching car keys as a defensive weapon, double-checking that doors are locked, walking in the light, crossing the street when a stranger approaches, looking for an exit route, holding the phone ready to dial a friend, hastening their steps when someone is behind them, and avoiding certain areas. It is not right that the prospect of a random attack lies close to the surface for many women.
This is about men changing so that violence against women does not occur, rather than a woman's responsibility to keep herself out of harm's way. The 2016 Australian of the Year, Lieutenant General David Morrison, as Chief of the Australian Army, made it blatantly clear what is unacceptable behaviour. He reminded us all of something very important when he spoke to his troops: "The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” Culture shapes how people behave. We should never be afraid to follow our conscience when something is not right.
The MeToo movement has helped shine a light on the misuse of power and sexual assault. It has redressed some imbalances in the capacity of those affected to have their concerns addressed. It has helped people identify poor cultures in the workplace, and it has assisted organisations better appreciate their duty of care.
Worldwide there are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary school. It is estimated that a girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult. For this reason, aid and development agencies such as Jesuit Mission and Caritas have a special focus on projects that promote girls’ education. In October 2012 Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head on a school bus for speaking against the attacks by militants on girls' education in Pakistan. In 2014 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In Australia the gender pay gap, the low representation in political decision-making, and the objectification of women require redress. We know that courageous leaders are working hard to make progress on gender balance and gain the advantage that diversity brings. We need to change the situation that allows for more CEO’s to have a first name of ‘David’ than to be female.
This week, our Provincial, Fr Brian McCoy, came to the Senior School. Once a year he visits every Jesuit community to reflect with each Jesuit about his life. We share about how we are going personally in our Jesuit life, in our personal growth, and in our struggles. We share about our experience of our spirituality, ministry and community. This is an important part of our Jesuit governance, because these conversations assist the Provincial and his Consultors with the placement of Jesuits in their care. Our Provincials are appointed for six years, and Father Brian is completing his final year this year. Please keep him in your prayers and our Province in your thoughts as we discern who is to be his successor.
Fr Peter Hosking SJ
Cover Photo: Mr Peter Coffey, Fr Brian McCoy SJ, Fr Peter Hosking SJ
OREMUS (Let us pray)
We remember all in our College community. May our prayers comfort those suffering at this time. May God’s blessing be a source of support in their sorrow and loss, and bring courage, patience, and hope.
“Ask and you shall receive … knock and the door will be opened unto you.” (Matt 7:7)
If you would like someone to be remembered by the College community in prayer (even anonymously), please provide details to the Rector, class or Home Group Teacher, or Year Coordinator.