One phrase stood out to me in a recent article from a survey at Christchurch Girls' High School: "Parents of a girl at Christchurch Girls' High School have applauded the school's bravery while challenging boys' schools to lead the change in sexual behaviour."
New Zealand has an issue with how we teach our young people to interact with the opposite sex, and I believe this is the result of our culture with single-sex schooling.
Single-sex schooling is mandatory in parts of Africa and the Middle East, as well as on the rise in places such as China, where the academic achievements of girls overtaking boys over recent decades has brought a "resurgence" of single-sex education.
Single-sex schooling is something I had to come to terms with since moving here after being brought up in Sweden, where it simply does not exist.
However, both my father and husband are products of single-sex schools, so I feel I can speak on the matter, although the world has changed significantly since they were at school.
The UK and Australia have been moving away from single-sex schooling, and in the US, co-education has been embraced for generations. Yet, in New Zealand, it appears not much is changing.
Instead, advocates of single-sex schools claim academic outcomes for both boys and girls are better without the other gender. In fact, there is growing research showing the academic difference between single-sex and co-ed schools is insignificant.
In a Sydney Morning Herald article, University of Melbourne researcher Anna Dabrowski says parents are being "sold the myth" despite the bulk of research showing differences in academic achievement are "negligible".
She adds, "when social, emotional, psychological and equity impacts are also considered, single-sex education is potentially harmful".
As a mother raising a son and a daughter, with a third on the way, I have never given more thought to schooling.
I grew-up in a very middle-income suburb in Stockholm, where children simply moved from the local primary school to the local intermediate.
My best friends from school were boys and girls. I was as at ease talking with boys as girls, and I believe this helped shape who I am as a leader – never feeling daunted when dealing with the opposite gender.
Despite living in central Auckland, among the "top" single-sex schools, our children attend the local primary school. It is not an easy sales pitch.
The facilities at the school are underwhelming, options for extended learning are limited, as are extracurricular activities and sports. But the school has an incredible heartbeat, and the social learning is ripe. Most importantly to us as parents, the school has diversity both in terms of gender and ethnicity.
That our son has built strong relationships with his female peers, while not surprising, has further reinforced to me the importance of co-ed schooling.
Most of our friends who send their child to single-sex schools do so because of the education and extracurricular activities rather than it being single sex, which I understand.
But schools must offer more than academic achievement. It needs to teach our children how to be seen and be heard by people different from us. If only half of the population learn to hear and see us, then both the child speaking and the one listening are missing out.
Our son is equally in awe of his female and male house captains. I believe children must see both male and female peers in leadership roles.
In academic terms, I like girls and boys being benchmarked against each other; it is wonderful for our son to see the academic achievement of his female peers.
As someone who has employed many people, I notice a difference in those from co-ed schooling versus those with single-sex schooling.
One team member told me after his single-sex education, it had taken him several years to build the confidence to deal with female colleagues and bosses. Despite having a strong mother and sisters. He simply did not know how to navigate the opposite gender. I encounter women who have been through all-female schooling and don't know how to speak to or interact with men.
I strongly believe that when girls and boys are taught how to positively collaborate and work together, we drive better societal outcomes. We need to start listening to the evidence, see what is happening internationally and start taking a more progressive approach.
A pragmatic approach may encourage co-ed schools, but offer some single-sex classes, as a happy medium that both sides of the argument may accept.
We need young men not to see young women as sex objects and mysterious creatures, but as their equals. Co-education helps achieve this.
By doing this, we can learn to grow together and finally reap the benefits of a more equitable and diverse country.
• Cecilia Robinson is an entrepreneur, currently working as the founder and co-chief executive of healthcare start-up Tend.