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GDANCE boys ballet

Today is International Women’s Day!

We have much to celebrate today, however we still have a way to go to achieve gender equality.

There are many barriers to gender equality.

·       Australian women are over-represented as part-time workers in low-paid industries and in insecure work and continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles in the private and public sectors.

·       A quarter of women were sexually harassed in the workplace between 2007 and 2012. The harasser was most likely to be a co-worker (52 per cent) and the most common forms of sexual harassment included sexually suggestive comments/jokes (55 per cent), intrusive questions about private life or appearance (50 per cent) and inappropriate staring or leering (31 per cent).

·       In 2014, one in two (49 per cent) mothers reported experiencing discrimination in the workplace at some point during pregnancy, parental leave or on return to work, and one in five (18 per cent) mothers indicated that they were made redundant, restructured, dismissed, or that their contract was not renewed because of their pregnancy, when they requested or took parental leave, or when they returned to work.

·       Mothers spend twice as many hours (8 hours and 33 minutes) each week looking after children under 15, compared to fathers (3 hours and 55 minutes). 

·       In 2009-2010, average superannuation payouts for women were just over half (57%) those of men. Average retirement payouts in 2009-10 were of the order of $198,000 for men and only $112,600 for women.  As a result, women are more likely to experience poverty in their retirement years and be far more reliant on the Age Pension.

·       One in three Australian women aged 15 years and over has experienced physical violence and nearly one in five has experienced sexual assault. It is estimated that violence against women and children will cost the Australian economy $15.6 billion per year by 2021-2022 unless decisive action is taken to prevent it.

·       More than smoking or obesity, domestic and family violence is the leading preventable cause of death, disability and illness in women aged 15 to 44 years.

·       Did you know Australian women have to work an extra 66 days a year to earn the same pay as men for doing the same work?

**Information from Australian Human Rights Commission.**

 However, worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement. And we have much to celebrate today! I’m so proud of all the girls, teachers, mums, sisters, grandmothers and aunties at GDANCE! You are strong women and you empower your children by teaching them they can achieve their dreams. Thank you for helping us to achieve gender equality in our dance community.

So how do we want to celebrate International Women's Day 2016?

Everyone - men and women - can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly - whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.

What can you do to take action to put gender on the agenda this International Women's Day and beyond?

Make a Pledge For Parity

Visit this PAGE to make your pledge.

GDANCE Academy will always be a place where our girls are taught (and shown) that being a leader is a wonderful thing. That chasing your dreams is essential! That boys should feature just as prominently in the arts and we should be helping to encourage and support them. That we are not in competition with our friends and sisters, instead we should be helping them and cheering them on as they pursue their goals. We support our teachers through family planning and parenthood, working with them to help keep them in the workforce. 

Let’s celebrate women today and commit to striving for a future where there truly is gender equality for our children. Thank you for supporting GDANCE and our commitment.

Miss Jo xx




Boys in Dance

Hello everyone and welcome to the second entry of the GDANCE blog! Hope everyone is off to a good start for the term. 

Today I wanted to write a little bit about boys in dance as we launch our first GDANCE ALL BOYS class (on Tuesday afternoon at 3.30 pm if you're interested or know someone who is). 

Quite often there's lots of little boys dancing around here at GDANCE. But they're not in the studios! No, they are skipping and singing their way to and from the car park, they are mimicking their sisters dance moves in the corridors or they are peering through the studio viewing pane on a Saturday morning watching their sisters dance (and likely not quite understanding why they're not!) 

I'm saddened when I hear our girls' little brothers get told this: "Yes I know you love to dance but Daddy wouldn't allow it!" Or some similar version of that statement. 

It begs the (huge) question, WHY?

In our society I think dance is still seen as something that's not "masculine". Which means it must be feminine right? Are we still living in a society where dance is seen as "feminine"? If so, why would it be a negative thing for boys to partake in an activity that is viewed that way?  Femininity and all its variants is a wonderful thing! It is not weak, nor pretty, nor less than, masculine. THIS is at the core of the issue and it goes DEEP. This IS a feminist issue and its one we face daily. See this amazing VIDEO on the topic. When did it become an insult do do something "like a girl?"

You would think that with all the dance shows on TV these days, dance is becoming a lot more acceptable for boys to do. And it sure is helping make progress for boys! But there is a long way to go before we see gender equality in dance. 

There is still a strong undercurrent in our society that dance is for girls and football is for boys. Or that dance is for boys who are gay. Or more disturbingly, dance will make boys gay. There is a general feeling that hip hop is ok for boys to do, but not ballet. (Huh?) It is often the case that Mum has to "check with Dad" before allowing their son to dance (and not because of financial reasons). Unfortunately Dad's answer is usually a resounding "No". 

These are the repercussions of a patriarchal society. One where men and boys are taught from an early age that they need to appear "strong, tough, heroic and gutsy" to be considered a bloke. 

Let me tell you, there's nothing more gutsy than a boy stepping into his favourite dance class, week in, week out despite being subjected to the bullying and teasing that is happening somewhere else in his life because of it. There is nothing more heroic than a father and mother breaking the mould and going against popular culture and allowing their son the joy of dance even though there will be raised eyebrows by even those closest to them. There is nothing tougher than a Dad who is a feminist (whether he knows it or not) because he advocates for the equal rights of girls and boys in his decisions for his sons. He isn't bothered by anyone who has an opinion on the fact that he has a BOY that dances, he merely loves and supports his kid that loves to dance. 

So today's blogpost is to celebrate the fathers, men, mothers and girls in our GDANCE community who support our boys in their dance pursuits. Those who step out of their comfort zone to really challenge society's ingrained and outdated sexist agenda. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being leaders for men everywhere, and showing us all what it means to allow your sons to truly, "follow their dreams", paving the way for boys in generations to come. 

Miss Jo xx

Boys at GDANCE