Spotlight On: Sisterhood

8 September 2023


This article first appeared in Queenwood Weekly News on Friday 8 September 2023.

Female friendship is a beautiful thing. It’s gentle and fierce all at the same time. It’s a warm smile and it’s a tight hug. Sisterhood is a gift – a gift that Queenwood nurtures.

For as long as time, the media has dished out a cheap story that successful women can’t coexist. I grew up watching Taylor Swift pitted against Katy Perry. The mums will probably remember how the world tore Tonya Harding to shreds - partly for the accused crime but more so because we love to watch women struggle against each other. That might explain why we have 32 instalments of The Real Housewives. In a world that is quick to capitalise on female rivalry, we need radiant young girls who know what it means to be independently ambitious without compromising their compassion and solidarity. Between issues like income inequality and gender-based violence, there is a greater enemy than other women. Thus, it’s important to promote a culture where girls understand that they can build themselves up without tearing others down. Instead of vying for the spotlight, we should encourage, uplift, and amplify each other's voices. It's a necessary recognition that there is strength in unity, and one woman's success paves the way for others to follow.

This is especially evident in our weekly assemblies. A moment each Wednesday afternoon is an opportunity for recognition. Mrs Moore, before the whole school, calls a few girls out by name. The rowers returning from Worlds in Paris. The Maths Olympiad High Distinction recipients. The bassoonist in the Sydney Youth Orchestra. The Tildesley girls, perhaps. Maybe this week it’s the Archdale debaters or the snow sport athletes. Either way, the applause does not stop. You’ll hear girls hooting for their friends over the sound of clapping, deafening from all sides – because here it’s second nature to celebrate one another. The royal family wasn’t big enough for both Meghan and Kate; Barbie’s Dreamhouse was too small to fit both Barbie and Raquelle. Queenwood transcends these limiting narratives of women. The Astra Theatre can fit us all.

Sisterhood extends beyond shared pride in the big moments and seeps into the day-to-day. It's the locker room banter, laughter over coffee, the conversations caught between (or in) classes, and the assurance of a shoulder to lean on when the world feels heavy. School provides an environment for strong, genuine, and organic female friendships to form. There’s Sister Groups and a myriad of co-curricular activities that encourage bonding across year groups. Camp every year presents our peers in a different light, bringing us closer together than before. And for most, friendships come so naturally every day we spend together that we don’t even have to think about it. That is a gift in itself.

Mahboba, the founder of Mahboba’s Promise, came in to talk to us just last week. Her tireless work to heal and educate Afghanistan’s widows and orphans acts as a massive inspiration to all. One thing she said that struck me particularly was that her girls would love to meet us, and that she knew they would see us as sisters. The empowering nature of sisterhood exceeds barriers of age or language.

In a society that fosters rivalry, female solidarity offers an alternative narrative. It's a reminder that supportive, loving friendships are a force that enrich our lives and have the capacity to transform the world around us. At Queenwood, our girls, each with unique strengths and gifts, come together like a constellation of stars. Stars don't diminish each other's light; together, they illuminate the entire sky.