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CAG Blog: Powered by Optimism

"Powered by Optimism" captures my reflections of life in and around an all-girls' school and highlights the values of C.A.G.: leadership, global citizenship, wellness, and teaching and learning. Underscoring it all is a deeply ingrained sense of optimism that we are preparing a generation of boldly creative women who will help change the world.

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a global conversation- 6.2.16

Posted by:  alison
06/02/16 03:11 PM   | reply

I was privileged to travel to Australia this past week as a trustee of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. NCGS is a leading advocate for all-girls’ education in North America, but is becoming increasingly known and connected on a global scale. Along with Megan Murphy, NCGS executive director, I traveled to Brisbane in Queensland, where I joined like-minded girls’ school colleagues from Australia and New Zealand.

Trips like this one (where we also attended the Alliance for Girls’ Schools Australasia’s conference) allow us to learn and listen, and to contribute to the international conversation about all-girls’ education. And what a conversation it is! I was struck by our similar approaches, by our hopes for our girls, and the shared concerns we all tackle in our individual corners of the world.

In particular, conversations that resonated for me were the need to increase the numbers of girls and women in STEM fields and the need to develop leadership identities and skills in girls.

When, during the AGSA conference, speaker Claire Madden talked about Gen Z and the key factors of this generation, she could have been speaking anywhere in the United States to any audience. While her locale is a world away from mine, her words resonated with my American experience in such a way that I realized the truth of them: our kids are part of a generation that is so globally connected that they share even their sense of humor. How exciting it is to think about how that influences what happens in our classrooms. In her words, this interconnected generation is “global, social, mobile and digital.”

There was much conversation about how to help girls tap into their capacity as leaders. If you are familiar with the work of The Agnes Irwin School’s Center for the Advancement of Girls, you know that this is a topic around which we have created robust programming. Like our Australian colleagues, we believe that if a girl understands her leadership capacity from the inside out, she is more likely to exercise it throughout her life.

I also loved learning about efforts to attract more girls into STEM fields. I found it heartening to know that all-girls schools in the Eastern Hemisphere are approaching this issue in similar ways: by highlighting these fields as being “for girls,” by showing how other women have successfully gone before in these fields, by allowing girls to create solutions to the grand challenges our world faces - and for which we need the STEM fields.

Here is what my hope is - that these global conversations (of which I was only a tiny part), our global connectedness, will help us achieve parity between men and women, in STEM and in leadership, more quickly. I hope that with this flow of ideas and the sharing of solutions between farflung continents, we will create a world in which all girls can thrive, can lead and can create, and so fulfill their true potential.
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