So yesterday I got a really important piece of mail from my old school, one of the more expensive private girls’ schools in Australia. They need my help to support their ‘2015 Equality Campaign’. I know what you’re thinking, how can I help some of the most privileged girls in the country to become more equal?
Well, as the flier suggests, I should donate $25,000 (over 5 years) to help them improve their ‘inferior educational facilities’. You might not know it, but my old school ‘places great emphasis on social responsibility’ and as such wants to ensure ‘people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of whether you are a woman or a man’.
The level of hypocrisy in these sentiments is so staggering it’s hard to know where to begin. But the obvious question is who gets to be equal with whom in this campaign? Well, it’s ‘our girls’. The aim is for some of the most privileged girls in the state to be equal to the most privileged boys in the state, because that’s equality right? When rich people can equally access state of the art science, research, art and sporting facilities then we know we are ‘crafting a future in which gender is not a discriminating factor’.
I know, I know. You thought it might be when child marriage was eradicated? When one woman a week wasn’t killed by her male partner in Australia? Or when little girls didn’t have their clitorises cut out and their vulvas sewn up, like some of the students I’ve taught? Or possibly when indigenous women and women of colour have the same opportunities as white women?
Or maybe you even thought it was when every girl has the same access to the same quality of education and resources regardless of what family they grew up in?
The co-opting of this term ‘equality’ by one of the most elite girls’ school in the country is particularly galling. There is such a massive elephant in the room, right? Let’s just say it, private education is based on the premise of INEQUALITY, not equality. You pay bucket loads of money because you think you are getting a better education than at your free local state school. Whether this is true or not, is irrelevant. Private schools exist for people who can afford it, so they can choose what they perceive to be a better level of education than what they could get for free. There is nothing equal about it.
The sentiment in this campaign is that they want equality when they’re discriminated against, like they are in the levels of philanthropic donations, but when they’re the ones getting the ‘better’ education then they’re happy to get the benefits of discrimination.
So what about my $25,000 tax-free donation, what would ‘our girls’ get for that money if I did support the ‘Equality Campaign’? Well, it would probably go towards their multi million dollar Physical Performance and Health Centre (read very posh pool and gym) which is probably fancier than your local pool.
My donation would only be 1% of the 2.5 million dollars the government has provided in capital expenditure over the last 5 years (this is separate to recurrent student funding), and a pitiful percentage of the total cost, but once it was built I could rest easy knowing that the girls from my old school would no longer have to share the boys’ pool down the road. As a side note, imagine if government funding for capital works really was a needs based model. Like schools with windows that don’t open properly and no air conditioning (like the one I used to teach at) would get fixed before private schools got new pools! Crazy, right?
Just to make it clear, it’s not that I think that this particular private school shouldn’t be able to buy their fancy pool if they want to. It’s a free world and we all get to have our own morals and make our own decisions, I just don’t think they should have government funding or use words like ‘equality’ to get it.
I think the 2015 school captain explains it best in her speech, where she calls herself a feminist, and states; “Gender equality is not equality for a select few”, except when it’s only for a tiny portion of entitled private school girls, then it most undoubtedly is.
Note from Dev: Hi there, this piece was sent to me by an ex student. Old girl I think they call them. What stood out to me was the idea of equality for ‘our girls’. So not equality for all? Well that’s not equality.
Oh and guess what? A $25k donation to public school isn’t tax deductible. But is for donations to private schools.
Private schools are businesses. End of. And because, like most, this is a religious school it is a tax free business. A tax free business that takes hand outs on top of that incredible amount of moral corruption. Anyway the whole thing is hilarious because as has been proven by many many studies private schools provide no better education and inferior values and these schools are ‘educating’ these girls and women not to identify ‘feminist washing’* when they see it.
*Feminist washing is a term I just made up. From ‘green washing’
Everyone’s heard the expression “whitewashing” — it’s defined as “a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in a political context.”
“Greenwashing” is the same premise, but in an environmental context.
It’s greenwashing when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. It’s whitewashing, but with a green brush.
You know when you go into a hotel and they say ‘Consider the environment and reuse your towels and sheets’ when they just want to guilt you so they can save money?