SEDA College used International Women's Day to reinforce the importance of equality in sport
SEDA College is a leader for hands-on education for students in their senior years and is located in venues all over Melbourne, Australia. They partner with peak industry organisations to provide students with unique opportunities and experiences specific to their interests in order to develop key employability and life skills for a successful future. Sports Development Programs form a significant part of the institution's activity.
The college aims to create safe spaces for its students to feel empowered within their education. With 230 female students, and 500 male students aged 16-18 years, SEDA College understands that it is so important to educate them around respect and equality as they strive to pursue careers in the sport and recreation industry. SEDA College wants every student to feel included and respected, and also practice these qualities when they work within the community; coaching, volunteering or working. They aim to educate students through teaching respectful relationships and equality within the curriculum, and empower them through inspirational role models they can listen to and draw inspiration from. Inclusion in the classroom is key and sets the ground for a generation of students creating equal and inclusive workplaces.
The more SEDA talks about equality issues and provides education and training to all staff and students, the greater the impact the college can have as they continue to embark on their journey in sport to create a #BalanceforBetter. So when it comes to International Women's Day, the oportunity provides a key moment to celebrate women's achievements while calling for greater equality.
Justine Bowers, SEDA College Inclusion & Diversity Leader, created the IWD Event. 5 venues, 15 guest speakers, 730 participating students. Read about their activity here.
Supporting students to forge a balance for better
SEDA College recognizes the need for respectful relationships training in preventing violence against women. It strives to build inclusive classrooms that support the students to play and be involved in the sports that they love in a safe, supportive and empowering environment. "At SEDA College, we change student’s lives by developing real skills and preparing them for a successful future with proven success in engaging, educating and empowering young people in Victoria," said principal, Health McMillan.
The majority of students at SEDA College want to pursue a career in the Sport and Recreation industry, thus education around equality is vital in building respectful relationships now and into the future. The entire school stopped curriculum for International Women's Day to celebrate women to help focus on the importance of women's equality.
Respectful relationships and equality
Prior to International Women’s Day, students completed a curriculum around respectful relationships and equality. Students read case studies around female journeys such as Malala Yousafzai and discussed the role everyone has to play in ensuring a world that practices equality and inclusion for all. Students completed a class pledge and came together in the #BalanceforBetter pose to drive awareness and celebrate their involvement.
Inspirational role models shared stories of equality and inclusion
For International Women’s Day, the college came together to reflect on the importance of an inclusive society as they help strive towards a #BalanceforBetter. The contribution from SEDA College's guest speakers, staff and students assisted the college in doing just that.
Five events occurred across Melbourne and Geelong to ensure every student at SEDA College could get involved. The day began with inspirational role models telling stories of their journeys. Fifteen amazing guest speakers spoke to students on topics including their journey in sport, inclusion, respect and equality. Three guests spoke at each of SEDA College's five events across Melbourne. This gave the guest speakers the opportunity to tell their story, inspire students to reach their full potential and educate them around the importance of an inclusive society where everyone is treated equally.
Teamwork, inclusion and the Respect Cup
Each event was concluded with the SEDA College Respect Cup which included activities to encourage teamwork, inclusion and sportsmanship such as tug a war, egg and spoon race, sack relays, minor games and SEDA College's #BalanceforBetter activity that invoved yoga and a team balance challenge activity to get the group to identify the need for teamwork as they strive towards gender equality.
The Respect Cup was a chance for students to mix with other classes and participate in friendly tabloid sports round robin. The event had a clear focus on respect, inclusion and sportsmanship. Students also participated in a #BalanceforBetter activity as part of the Respect Cup, this involved a discussion around what #BalanceforBetter means for them, implementing more inclusive practices within their classrooms and creating a positive space for everyone. This was followed by a team balance activity; Group challenges in balancing poses, thus reinforcing the need for everyone to work together as a team.
A video of the day was released for International Women’s Day on Instagram, Facebook and the SEDA College blog incorporating the logo and hashtag. An email from the principal was sent to all members of the SEDA College Community (staff, parents and students) in celebration of the school as it strives towards equality.
Supporting teaching staff in becoming role models for students
With a large percentage of male students heading into the sport and recreation industry, SEDA College believes it is so important to educate all students around how to create change, how to support those around them and how to ensure SEDA College provided everybody with an equal opportunity. SEDA College is educating them about respect, building its students gender confdence and capability by providing opportunities for both male and female students to change their mindsets, assumptions, and behaviours.
SEDA College worked with its staff to ensure they fully support an inclusive and diverse culture. Teaching staff provide a vital role as role models to the students - students are watching their actions and the language they are using. Thus, SEDA College knows that staff professional development leading into the teaching year is vital in supporting its respectful relationships and the International Women's Day program.
Through their impressive activity, SEDA College hopes to inspire further sports-focused organisations to celebrate International Women's Day and forge greater equality for women.
Read more International Women's Day best practice case studies here.