Trafalgar School for Girls is an all-girls private Anglophone secondary school in Downtown Montreal, Quebec. The school serves students at Secondary I – V levels.

On April 29th of 2013, Charmaine Lyn, Director of the Office of Admissions, Equity & Diversity, Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, gave a presentation to students participating in the Career Day. The presentation focused on gender inequalities in the workplace and the idea of “having it all”.

We also supported their Personal Development course and assisted in their Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI). YPI is a program that allows the students to pick a charity and make a presentation about the charity to the YPI organization. YPI selects a charity based on this exercise to donate $5000.  We offered the girls professional interviewing skills so that they can conduct interviews with their community partners and helped them with other media production skills such as video and image manipulation to record their experiences.

The media skills component was a means to an end as we hope the chief economic benefit for the girls would be confidence building and access to positive role models. At the workshop on interviewing skills, professional National Public Radio producer Amanda Aronczyk offered professional guidance and also offered tips and insight regarding gender issues pertaining to her work. For example, she encouraged the participants to embrace the technical side of any profession. She mentioned that this helped her get her start. This was a well placed piece of advice for the students at Trafalgar School for Girls because the school has been finding ways to encourage the students to become interested in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields and this has been driving some of their educational strategies. It was helpful to have a speaker explain how technical skills were essential to the start of her career. She believed mastery of technical skill for radio has continued to open doors for her career, particularly as a woman. This is a good example of how we are using role models. This helped address one of the needs that we reported during the needs assessment process. Gender specialist Sofia Guerrieri led the rest of the session with role-play activities.

We have also offered to provide budgeting and financial literacy workshops as needed.

During the gender and media literacy component, facilitator Laura Francois and the girls brought to light some of the stereotypes and inequalities that girls and women still face in today’s day and age. The students explored these ideas through different art projects such as video and artist statements. They focused on bringing awareness to the issues that girls face and how to change or break the glass ceiling. Check out the website they used for the workshops and read their artist’s statements.

We explored definitions and statistics on economic mobility and factors of exclusion. Activities including small group discussions, lectures, games, role-playing, individual reflection, content analysis, and digital literacy training, encouraged the girls at Trafalgar to become engaged in a comprehensive reflection on barriers to the economic prosperity of women.