An address to the School by Saachin Simpson, Year 12, Trinity Grammar School Captain
There’s a riddle about a father and son that some of you may have heard.
It goes like this:
A father was driving his son to a sports game and they had a terrible accident. The father died immediately, but the ambulance got to the hospital just in time for the boy. When they wheeled the boy into the Emergency Room the surgeon turned around and said with great surprise:
“I can’t operate on this boy, he’s my son!”
How is this possible?
The teachers I spoke to about this said they wracked their brains over this question and argued and debated about how this was possible.
The answer, of course, is that the surgeon is the boy’s mother.
If you had to think about that for more than a second or two, we still have a problem of perception and progress.
We gather to celebrate International Women’s Day. The word celebrate is used because it should be about more than highlighting past injustices, but it should primarily be about the “Press for Progress”, the motto of this year’s campaign. Since there’s been a sign up on our School grounds, and a bit of talk around the School – it sounds as if a lot of people are confused and don’t understand what Trinity, as an all-boys school, has to do with something that sounds like it’s about women. The Head Master highlighted that in fact of all people, us as men should be paying attention to this day, as we have not been subject to the injustices, and we are instrumental in progressing towards solutions for gender inequality. I’m not saying that we are necessarily the problem, but we are definitely part of the solution.
Upon being given the opportunity to speak to you, I realised that my perspective and knowledge on such an issue is limited – limited due to the fact that I have had the privilege of being a male in a male-dominated world all my life, as have most of us at this School. Having asked the opinion of a number of female teachers, my own sisters, my mother, the common word that I kept hearing is one so simple but so often forgotten: that word is ‘respect’.
Unfortunately, the nature of an all-boys school means that women are often forgotten in our everyday lives, and it is at times like this that we need to respect the achievements of women, both in the Trinity community and right across the world.
I’d like to mention the example of Bo Remenyi, one of the nominees for the 2018 Australian of the Year Awards. Mrs Remenyi fled her birth home of Hungary at the age of just 13, and came to Australia with zero English as a political refugee. She later became Australia’s first female paediatric cardiologist, and has now contributed to lowering the rate of Rheumatic Heart Disease in the Northern Territory and has completed a ground-breaking PhD which has been published in medical journals all around the world.
Mrs Remenyi is merely one example of the women we see in everyday life who contribute to the world in which we live. It’s women like this who we stand here and celebrate on this day. Because International Women’s Day is not about a political agenda, not about good publicity, not about just saying the right thing … it is about decent human respect. I challenge you to show this respect in your actions and your words.
You can learn more about International Women’s Day and the #PressForProgress at internationalwomensday.com
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