As an expert in the education of adolescent girls, the School strives to support and promote research into the formative years of childhood and adolescence, seeking to determine how various activities and influences can affect the career outcomes and wellbeing of young women into adulthood.
In 2016, the School was approached to contribute to research instigated by the Australian Gender Equality Council, and conducted by The University of Queensland AIBE Centre for Gender Equality in the Workplace, which sought to uncover any differences in the confidence levels between boys and girls in single-sex schools in Queensland.
Through surveys conducted with 10 076 students at single-sex schools, including Girls Grammar, the results concluded that there were no significant differences between the social self-efficacy of boys and girls at any age (Fitzsimmons, Yates and Callan, 2018). The study also highlighted key experiences and activities that produced the greatest levels of self-confidence—and found that both boys and girls derive just as much confidence from the same activities. Many of these activities are valued deeply at Girls Grammar, and provided in abundance to students.
Local and interstate travel was found to be the greatest predictor of self-confidence, closely followed by participation in team sport (Fitzsimmons et al., 2018). Girls Grammar provides space for recreational and sporting use as well as outdoor education, by establishing its Marrapatta Memorial Outdoor Education Centre near Imbil, and its Rangakarra Recreational and Environmental Education Centre in Fig Tree Pocket.
Leadership development training and taking on leadership positions were also found to be major predictors of self-efficacy, and social efficacy (Fitzsimmons et al., 2018, p. 8). This reinforces the power of leadership opportunities that Girls Grammar provides to students from Year 7, whether through representation of their House Group, as coordinators for Service activities or as captains in sporting teams. The School encourages girls to see themselves as capable leaders, and to value their own thoughts, opinions and plans for the future.
Principal, Ms Jacinda Euler, and Year 9 students, Maya Remedios (9G), Summer Langguth (9B) and Nicole Choo (9B), spoke to the ABC about some of the results of the study. Read the ABC News piece, online.
Fitzsimmons, T.W., Yates, M. S., & Callan, V. (2018). Hands Up for Gender Equality: A Major Study into Confidence and Career Intentions of Adolescent Girls and Boys. Brisbane, Qld: AIBE Centre for Gender Equality in the Workplace – The University of Queensland. Retrieved from: https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:dcee289