A female led initiative by residents of John XXIII College is set to launch next Monday, 12th of August, and is designed to generate a large amount of toys and maternity products for a Canberran women’s refuge. It will see students placing themselves in the parental role to a baby doll.

With both females and males encouraged to join, the play on traditional female stereotypes has students signing up to caring for their ‘child’ from 7am til 7pm on a daily basis; if they’re seen to be doing a poor parenting job, they can be jokingly called out and disqualified by others.

Caitlin Burke, John XXIII Women’s Officer and one of the organisers of the project, stated that she hoped this was the “start of a powerful event that would grow in future years.”

“Our aim was to allow residents to engage in a female led initiative that facilitates a lot of laughs.”

As a compulsory part of entry, all students have agreed to donate all dolls and maternity gear accumulated will go to Marymead, a non-for-profit in the ACT that has provided services for children, young people and their families for over 40 years.

Acknowledging the ridiculous nature of watching a group of college students devote their all to caring for a plastic ‘child’, she commented that the outcome of the all-inclusive and non-intimidating competition was yet to be seen.

“If we can get people engaging in a ridiculous community event like this, having a laugh and ultimately donating to a good cause driven by a strong female college culture, I’ll be thrilled.”

Initial reception has so far been overwhelmingly positive, Burke expressed that it would be wonderful if the event could develop into further campaigns, such as an established annual toy drive, with girls asking if they “can donate other items from home, and knit things for the drive!”

With over 70 girls officially signed up, and boys now signing up too, Burke said that the event would be a success “even if it only last a few days”, however starting from Monday, there would be many ‘new mums’ around campus.

“The upcoming months could witness students furiously scribbling on exam booklets whilst their infant looks on from the front of Melville Hall… but that might be a bit ambitious.”