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A few things no one tells you about university

By Vesna Clark – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

This is an honest and personal account of my experience of the first semester of University.

Throughout my late high school years, friends and family would continually tell me not to worry about university, as it would be much more rewarding and enjoyable than high school. In many ways this is true, in my first semester of studying a double degree of Arts and Social Work at the University of Sydney, I was blessed with a pretty fantastic timetable. My classes began at 10am and finally I was free from the dreaded 6:30am wake ups! Another positive I found was that in university you are (or hopefully) studying what interests you and thus you are surrounded by like-minded individuals. Despite this, I eventually lost interest for two of my subjects, however this is all a part of the process, discovering what you do and do not enjoy which in turn shapes your future career path.

Now, what no one really wants to tell you is that you can become quite lonely at university, being invisible in many ways.

It seems that living in a college on campus does make it easier to meet people and make friends as you are constantly surrounded by students and in many cases, even sharing a room with them. From my experience, it is very difficult to make friends at university as while there may be that person that you have created a strange bond with simply due to the fact that you sat next to them the first day of tutorials and thus sit with them the following weeks, everyone has different timetables and schedules. You may only see these people from your tutorial once a week, twice a week if you attend lectures!

While everyone suggests that you join as many societies as possible in order to meet others with similar interests, many of my society meetings clashed with my classes and any spare time I had was entirely devoted to catching up on class work. In terms of the workload at university, it is completely different to what was expected of me in Year 12 and thus I found it quite difficult to adapt. However, this feeling passed in the first few weeks as I found a rhythm, and my advice is that you will either find a method or it will find you, so do not panic.

Overall, my main point is that university will become easier as time passes. I am enjoying my second semester in which I am studying two gender and cultural studies subjects, Anthropology (which I highly recommend) and unfortunately continuing the excruciatingly dry Sociology. Making friends will become easier as you will find your personal balance, finding yourself in a much more happier state of mind. To those Year 12s reading this, I only wish you the very best of luck and while everything around you may be going a hundred miles per hour, take a minute and breathe, find your own pace and remember that your wellbeing comes first!

Why you should vote ‘yes’ to legalise same-sex marriage

By Elise Toyer – Country to Canberra 2016 Power Trip Winner

I’m excited and frustrated and hopeful and ready for change. Australia may (I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed!) finally, at the end of this year vote ‘Yes’ to legalise same-sex marriage.

I’m excited, and it’s time for us, the Australian public, to show Canberra through this postal plebis…survey that Australia is ready for same-sex marriage, now!

But I’m also frustrated, because even though the outcome of this plebiscite will affect me directly, I don’t get a say. I’m too young to vote. 

I have to sit on the sidelines watching my family get kicked around as a political football. And it hurts. My parents are two fabulous, amazing, sassy, kick-arse women who deserve the right to marry. 

It hurts my brother and sister and I to hear comments that we are ‘abused’, ‘disadvantaged’ and are becoming Australia’s new ‘stolen generation’. I’m none of these, and neither are my brother and sister. I love my family and I refuse to be used as a political pawn.

Plus these comments aren’t just offensive to us, but also to sufferers of childhood abuse, systemic disadvantage and poverty, and to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

I’m hopeful though. To everyone marriage has symbolic meaning, but it also has practical implications and my family shouldn’t be excluded.

Here let this video explain.

I’m ready for change. Equality will happen and this vote is our chance to (respectfully, of course!) let parliament know that marriage does not, and should not, discriminate.

This vote might not change much or matter for you, but for my rainbow, jumbled, dumpling-loving family it will. Still curious? Chuck me a message. Hate and fear are born from ignorance; asking respectful questions is therefore simply a step towards empathy and equality.

So enrol, check your details and get out there and vote. The AEC is only a click away:

Vote proud and most importantly vote Yes!!

Love will win.

Easiest way to contact me is through Facebook or email.  Thank you. 🙂

A letter to my 13 year old self

Written by Mikah Appel – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

As the end of Year 12 years, I can’t help but reflect on how I’ve changed since I started high school.

If I could, I would love to dispense some wisdom to my past self in regards to what I should and shouldn’t do, however my mistakes have ultimately led to valuable learning opportunities that I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.

Here is some advice nonetheless – whether it be to myself in year eight or any other anxious teens who are at the beginning of their high school journeys.

To an apprehensive yet optimistic, acne-faced, nervous, 13 year old, year 8 student,

You’ve just finished primary school and you’re beginning your first year of high school. I know how nervous and uncomfortable you feel since your friends have left. By now, you’re already beginning to feel the pressures of teenage-hood: wondering whether people will like you…worrying about your grades…and letting insecurities get the best of you. But worry not- in a few years you’ll find that high school, while it didn’t always go to plan, was some of the best days of your life so far. Without telling you what to do (I know you hate being bossed around), I need to bestow some wisdom upon you.  

ALWAYS remember to:


You won’t enjoy high school if you don’t get involved in the school community. Fundraisers, competitions, sports carnivals, student council…you aren’t too cool to join in. You’ll actually enjoy it more than you think you will, and you’ll make some really good friends doing so along the way.

13 year old me, you only get to do high school once – do as much as you can!


Yes, your grades do matter, but high school is not all about grades. Enjoy spending time with your friends and engage in activities that lower your stress. It is important that you work hard and knuckle down at times, but not so much that it consumes you. Relax as much as you can now, because the workload will only get larger as you get older!

You are only 13 after all…

  • BE YOU

Stop focusing on what you look like and what others think about you, and start focusing on who you are on the inside.  Allow your qualities – kindness, honesty, tenacity, and intelligence – to replace the insecurity and anxiety that you feel burdened by.  You don’t need reassurance from others to feel like you are enough; you have everything you need inside of you.

In a few years you’ll understand that you were never meant to fit the stereotypical mold that society places you in. Most people appreciate your individuality more than your desire to fit in with everyone else.

As long as you keep these things in mind, I assure you, you will enjoy your time in high school and the days of you wondering whether people will like you, worrying about your grades, and letting insecurities get the best of you, will be far behind you.

All the very best!

From an excited, relieved, slightly less acne-faced, confident, 17 year old, year 12 student.

Empower Profile: Janine Milne

Written by Rebecca Pickering – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

A little over a year ago, I was incredibly lucky enough to meet the inspiring woman Janine Milne through my local Showgirl Quest. Between Janine being an Agriculture Science teacher, to her Next Gen involvement, as well as Showgirl and rural Ambassador envelopment, I began to wonder, is there anything this woman can’t do?

Janine grew up working primarily with cattle and pigs, and her love for agriculture dates back to before she can remember. Agriculture has followed Janine to her current job as an Agricultural Science teacher at Dalby, Qld, although a number of life changes made Janine realise her passion to become a teacher. Janine realised that there was more that she wanted to do in life than to continue driving a tractor every day for the rest of her life, and credits being a teacher as one of her greatest achievements.

“Being a teacher is such a rewarding job. You are able to prove to kids that they can do what they set out believing they can’t, and that’s definitely a highlight of the job!”

I asked Janine whether she believed the future of agriculture looked to be male dominated, and the answer was extremely unexpected.

“Definitely not! The future of agriculture is very rapidly changing, and every year I see more and more females in my senior agriculture classes and less males”.

This year in particular Janine has one male student in her senior agriculture class, a positive sign that young women are not scared of getting involved in the agriculture sector.

Janine credits the high community involvement of young women in agriculture for the increase of women undertaking careers in agriculture, such as Showgirl and Rural Ambassador.

When asked about some of the struggles faced by women in agriculture, Janine’s response made me realise how important self-belief truly is.

“The lack of self-belief is definitely a major struggle faced by women in agriculture. Women think that because it’s a male dominated area they can’t do it, but they just need to believe in themselves!”

Janine said that women need to be supportive of each other and help one another reach their own personal goals, and praises the women’s groups which promote young women to enter the agriculture sector.

I asked Janine what she would say to a young woman who wishes to enter the agriculture sector, and was truly inspired by her response.

“Just do it! Be open to all opportunities and take a hold of each and every one with two hands, and listen to everything everyone has to say. Be open about what you want to do, because there is such a diverse range of jobs out there, especially with technology emerging.

“And last of all, believe in yourself! If you have the right mindset, you can reach whatever goals you set!”

Regional Schools vs City Schools

SandyBy Sandy Bauer – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

A recent question brought up for discussion during the HeyWire 2017 Regional Youth Summit was ‘Will regional schools ever be able to give country students the same opportunities as their city cousins?’

Well, I’ve got a few things to say on this matter.

I can relate to this topic having completed from year one to year twelve through distance education, which can be classified as a ‘regional school’. Throughout my schooling the government (through funding), and my teachers, always did the best to find ways to be able to give country students the same opportunities as our city cousins.

They are able to do this through out-sourcing teachers, sometimes from the city, that teach particular subjects from different schools, to be able to provide a wider range of subject choices to country children.

The schools do their best to team up with organisations to provide the students with state and overseas trips – enabling them to to expand their interests and knowledge regarding the history of particular places. By partnering with other organisations they are able to provide these trips to students and their families at affordable prices.

When I attended year twelve through NTOEC (Northern Territory Open Education Centre) the school offered me the opportunity to go on an overseas trip to Cambodia at a reasonable price. This trip was a ‘schoolies alternative,’ we spent almost two weeks over in two different parts of Cambodia, exploring markets, learning history and building houses to help the Tabitha Foundation.

Other organisations that help individual students to go above and beyond their interests and dreams is the ICPA (Isolated Children’s Parents Association) – they are constantly providing the students with bursaries through different companies such as ‘Elders’ and ‘Landmark’ to assistprovide aspiring students with funds to help them go further with their hobbies or study.

The downside that regional schools have is the fact that they are not able to provide extra learning opportunities on the spot.

City schools are able to send their students to different schools a certain day of the week so that they are able to do other studie,s such as trades. They are also able to provide students with a wide range of sporting activities due to having the facilities readily available. Whereas, country schools are only able to provide a ‘limited’ number of sports that students are able to excel at on a more local level.

I do believe that it wouldn’t be hard for country regional schools to be able to give exactly the same opportunities as our city cousins, however regional schools need to be provided with extra funding, to be able to further outsource different subjects and provide students with ‘additional’ learning areas and abilities.

When it comes to regional country schools I believe ‘you get out of it what you put into it.’

Therefore, if there are always organisations and teachers who care about improving how their country schools run compared to city schools – than there will always be changes and improvements to the system which continues to offer fantastic opportunities for regional kids.


Life is Like a Liquorice Allsort

15591035_1108479419250488_4907385342938978090_oWritten by Caitlin Heppner – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

You’re probably asking yourself, how is life like a liquorice allsort?

Well, there is no wrong answer! To some it may mean something as simple as life is colourful and full of different tastes, to others it may be more meaningful!

So, here’s the challenge.

I want you to sit back and ask yourself, how is life like a liquorice allsort?

If you’re like me and the first word that comes into mind is yuk, then think a little deeper (although I totally agree!).  A liquorice allsort is made up of different layers, some which taste better than others *cough cough liquorice* and each layer represents a period of your life. To me as you journey through life, you pass from one layer to the next, passing from good to bad flavours, then back to good again. Sometimes you find a new flavour, a new layer! This represents a new adventure or period in your life, a new experience! At the first taste you are unsure of what to think or where this will lead you (back for another one maybe), then at the second bite of this new layer, you determine your feelings about this new flavour.

Sometimes the layers represent the happier and sadder times in your life; the brighter colours representing the best times you’ve had, while the black of the liquorice stands for darker memories. But one thing to take away from this, is that the bright always outnumbers the dark! If you don’t believe me, there is bound to be a pack waiting for you to take them home in your local supermarket!

For a creation made in the 1800’s, there is a lot to be taken from these intriguing sweets!

Now, it’s your turn.

How do you think life is like a liquorice allsort?

What lessons do you think we can learn?


Empower Profile: Katrina Sasse

I met the awesome Katrina Sasse last year in Adelaide, at the Australian Nuffield Farming Conference and knew straight away that she would make a perfect ‘Empower Profile’ on the Country to Canberra blog.  These profiles feature inspiring women and girls who are making waves and promoting empowerment in rural Australia.  We are thrilled to be able to share with you Katrina’s story. She is an amazing woman, on a fantastic journey in 2017 – enjoy the read!

Katrina-SasseKatrina Sasse, is from Morawa (near Geraldton) in Western Australia.  She is a 2017 Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarship recipient and has recently been announced as a finalist in the Western Australia Young Achiever Awards.  She will research “the way forward for daughters” and investigate strategies to encourage young women, particularly farmer’s daughters, to play an integral role in the continuity of family farm businesses, enabling them to survive and help rural communities thrive.


Give us some background about you, where do you live? What do you do? What did you do before farming?

I’m a twenty-nine year old female farmer and inspired farm daughter who returned from a city career to work in my parent’s business “Leichhardt Fields” in Canna, Western Australia. Prior to that I studied a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics and a Bachelor of Commerce at UWA and then worked with NAB Agribusiness in Melbourne in a role in Corporate Agribusiness.

Why did you get into farming?

Initially, I returned home to work seasonally for seeding and harvest after what I like to call my “quarter life crisis” and because my family farm provided flexibility, I could work seeding and harvest and travel the world in between. Until then I was trying to navigate my way in the high paced & pressured corporate world without really knowing if that was where I wanted to be. I had always been curious about working on the farm and my sister had just purchased land from my Grandfather which gave me inspiration thinking about the future of our parent’s farm which was next door to Grandad’s.

After thirteen years of living a city life I returned home to take on a new challenge, something to reinvigorate me and to inspire me – learning how to farm!!

What are some of the challenges involved with being a female farmer?

The greatest challenges are those to come. I believe women are still struggling to be taken seriously as capable farm successors and males are still being given priority in terms of opportunity to farm. I personally believe that just because I am a female does not mean that I can’t be a successful farmer and now that I have given it a go and realised how much of a wonderful and diverse career the farm can provide, why would I want to do anything else?

I have been encouraged my whole life to take a pathway other than the farm. I know there are other women out there like me who have struggled to find out what they want to do in life because they cannot live up to everyone’s expectations.

For the first time in my whole life I am comfortable, love my life and am happy because I see where my future is heading.

I believe if you are willing, you need to learn the skills, have a great mentor and role models and put your hand up as soon as possible to say you want the opportunity to farm. If you don’t the opportunity will slip by with lots of regrets and heart ache.

What do you think are some of the main struggles faced by girls living in regional and rural Australia, and what can we do to overcome them?

We must teach our young women that women in regional and remote Australia live a very fortunate life.

When you look at other countries, women are working the fields day to night, in very labour intensive jobs and cannot even rise above subsistence farming to feed themselves and their families. When our society rose out of development, farm life became a lot easier for women and their families.

I believe the world is your oyster.

There are endless opportunities awaiting us if we have the confidence to apply our strengths. I am sure the shift in technology, changing social norms, changes to family structures and industry funded women’s development agendas are paving the way for an even brighter future for women in regional communities.

As communities become smaller and families face new business challenges, we must remember what our community forefathers have brought us – our heartland is the bush and our country towns must remain there for our children. We have fantastic farming families who have been there for generations. We must relish in their success stories and think to the future, this is very important.

If a 16-year-old girl came to you, saying she wanted to be a farmer, what would you tell her?

I am sure I will be able to shed more light on this after my ‘Daughters in Ag’ study for Nuffield. I believe I will find that successful female farmers learned a trade/skill that will compliment farming. Or if you are that way inclined, then university is an excellent start to a career in farming too. But make sure at every opportunity get as much work experience on a farm as possible. Ask to be taught how to do all the work and not be pigeonholed into certain jobs because you are female. Also, if your parent’s are farmers the best thing you can do is share with them your thoughts on becoming a farmer. I could have done a bit better at that!

If you are a female farmer or farmers daughter who would like to talk to Katrina about her Nuffield study, you can contact her via twitter or email her at

The Big Apple

26Written by Sabine Conolly – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

Today I’m going to talk to you about the big apple.

Late one evening I was looking through my emails when I came across an invitation to apply for the United Nations Youth Assembly to be held in New York, February 2017. At first I thought, ‘ That sounds cool… but that’s the sort of thing that only special people get into.’ You know what I mean, the intelligent, worldly, all-knowing people who just seem way out of my league. However the more I thought about it, the more I wondered, ‘perhaps I can do this… maybe one small person can make a difference’. So I found myself taking the first step, writing an application and waiting on tenterhooks for a reply.

The city that never sleeps, the center of the universe, the big apple… All these descriptors encapsulated by three very powerful words… New. York. City.

As a small town girl who has grown up in Atherton since she was 3, I found that one of the biggest cities in the world was entirely overwhelming. This I reminisce fondly, as New York changed my life.

Only weeks ago I embarked on my second step as I bordered the plane for the land of Trump and found to my surprise that he was not the only one there! In fact, I did not find the big Orange anywhere in the Big Apple. You can imagine the little girl from the sticks, traveling 30 hours on a huge airplane, tucked up in her jeans and wondering how on earth it could be cold enough to warrant the coat she was clutching.

I was terrified.

There I was, going to this enormous city, filled with people I don’t know. And then I had to go to the United Nations and try to sound intelligent! Honestly, I was shaking in my boots. However, three long plane rides later I had touched down in JFK, my mind frozen, simply stunned by the view. The world appeared different.

Buildings as tall as the sky rose from all around me. Lights blazed on every street corner, luring me into every shop or café… It was like a drug; once you started you could never go back. This wholly ordinary girl was in the city of dreams. It wasn’t long before I fell into step with the city. It was extremely cold (for me anyway!) and everything was open past 7pm on a weekday. Interesting thought to grasp, I know. I visited the Statute of Liberty, The New York Public Library the Empire State Building… and soon enough the prestigious, the all-exciting (yet bewildering) assembly was starting.

So, on that frosty morning in February, I made my way to the headquarters of the United Nations.

Another giant step in my journey.

I made friends with people from China, England, America, The Philippines, Nigeria, and Germany to name a few. What a mind-blowing experience! To meet and talk to people who are fluent in three languages, who live in countries of extreme poverty or war on their front doorstep. People who have a completely different view of the world, to my own slightly sheltered one. I spent three days in conference rooms and in the general assembly hall, forging relationships with as many people as possible.

However, not long into the assembly I realised that there was much about the world and my fellow human beings that I don’t know.

For example, it was such a shock for me to hear someone say where he or she is from and have to admit I’ve never heard of that place before.

This experience has really made me think. What do I even know about the world? Am I as all knowing or intelligent as I like to think I am? Am I as ignorant as those I mock?

It’s an incredibly frightening thing, as the youth of today are tomorrow’s leaders. But how can we be leaders if we don’t even know what our neighbour’s are dealing with? What kind of nation are we, if we are only thinking about ourselves? This was a major learning curve for me as it took me back a few steps and really made me think. We all hear about countries like Madagascar or South Sudan, some of the poorest countries in the world. Or even places like the Congo, which is war-ridden and terrifying to live in. But do we, first world people, really understand? Put yourself in their shoes… Look into the eyes of the malnourished girl who hasn’t had a drink of water all day, a drink of clean water for months… Do you see her pleading eyes?

We can help. And we should. The youth of today, that’s you and me, we aren’t here to sit around on our social media… We are here to change the world. We are here to stand up for what we believe in and fight for it. It is time to make a difference.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

So come on this journey with me, let’s take the first step together.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

IMG_0007 (2)Written by Hannah Worsley – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

It’s International Women’s Day today!

Whether you’ve been counting down the days until your sneaky feminist-themed t-shirt matches the occasion, or you only discovered that it existed because Facebook made a profile picture filter, we can all agree that today is important.

Last year on ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ I decided to do a bit of a shout-out and find out what days like this mean to people of all ages, genders, nationalities, and political opinions.  I thought today would be a great day to share some of those responses.

“Days like today show girls that they can do anything they want without worrying about being ridiculed because it’s not “feminine” and “unladylike”.” – Female 19yo

“Our future rests on the girls of the world – let them know how important they are.” – Female, 18yo

“To me, today is about advocacy, empowerment, and passion-good for everyone, not just girls, and important for everyone, ESPECIALLY girls.” – Male, 24yo

“Inclusivity of LGBTIQ women in the feminist movement.” – Female, 63yo

“I want to wear my bikini; my friend wants to wear her burkini. Come on people, we both get criticised? #girlpower” – Female, 20yo

“I want my wife and daughters to feel safe everywhere they go, and I want other people to have that too.” – Male, 38yo

“I want my little sister to be able to play rugby!” – Male, 16yo

“In my country, the hijab is compulsory. I like wearing mine, my sister does not. Today is all about letting us decide things for ourselves, because WE ARE PEOPLE TOO! Women are powerful, smart, and strong, and we do not need decisions made for us.” – Female, 21yo

“Celebrating the diverse female excellence which flourishes from equal opportunity and education! Also celebrating freedom of expression of self: art, lit, sexuality, gender and opinion.” – Female 18yo

“It’s important to have International Day of the Girl as separate to International Women’s Day to recognise that while issues of gender inequality such as access to education, opportunity and disproportionate levels of sexual assault are global issues, those who are caught up in these struggles and even crisis are simply girls. Children who fundamentally want to play and be carefree just the same as boys. I think international day of the girl really humanises what the fight for gender equality is about – our kickass younger sisters.” – Female, 18yo

“Today to me is the silent stoicism of girls across the world who stay strong and steadfast in their beliefs, even when the loudest voice seems to be Trump’s sexism. They’re our true future leaders and change makers.” – Female, 18yo

This week I watched as eight boys, and just two girls got elected to my college’s leadership team. We need more female representation.” – Female, 19yo

“The Matildas earning nothing. I like soccer and they like soccer but I would get paid more just because I’m a guy. And put it this way-I wouldn’t want to play a game against them!” – Male, 17yo

“Holding our universities to account over their hopeless handling of sexual assault. Gender-related issues need to be taken seriously, from the ‘boys clubs’ that exist within colleges, to the rapes that occur on campus. Start treating this issue seriously! – Female, 19yo

“Honestly I hadn’t heard of it until it was on facebook today, but I recognise the importance of its aims regarding empowerment.” – Female, 19yo

“Today is important to me because it affirms me that no matter how much discrimination I may face, people are there to support me.” – Female, 19yo

“I know people will disagree with this but the way we treat Kim K for literally everything is not cool. Sex tape, who she marries, her children, her professional life, and even when she’s the victim of a crime. Today is about not dragging women through the mud for decisions they are totally entitled to make??” – Female, 23yo

” I would say today is important because it’s a reminder of how far we still have to go for gender equality! Even though women have made leaps and bounds in the past century, there are still so many girls and women worldwide who don’t have the opportunities I do as a woman in a first-world country.” – Female, 20yo

“Anything that helps to bring gender equality closer, and starts conversations about the issues that women and girls face around the world, has to be a good thing” – Male, 18yo

“I need International Women’s day because as an American woman, it’s my way to empower others to make a change, and to show that we’re stronger and mightier than the comments being made within our political system at present.” – Female, 21yo

Of all the blog posts I’ve written/been a part of writing, this is the one where I’ve written the least, yet been able to say the most. To me, International Women’s Day is exactly what these comments indicate-empowerment of women, encouragement for all those fighting gender inequality, and acknowledgement of the issue of gender discrimination.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

The importance of Gal Pals

image-169x300Written by Louise Miolin – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

I like to to think that I possess a variety of positive traits.

I can analyse novels really well, roll my tongue into a clover, speak in front of crowds…but I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to coordination and athleticism, I’m severely lacking. Hence why a hike on the Bibbulmun track in our beautiful south west a few weeks ago lead to a fantastic stack and a badly rolled ankle on my part. After laughing, then panicking at my swelling foot, my best friend of twelve years piggybacked me up and down a kilometre’s worth of sand dunes until we reached a campsite. Our mothers watched on with a mix of concern, admiration, and some laughter – it was quite the sight.

A tennis ball sized ankle and a sleepless night ensued, leaving me plenty of time to feel sorry for myself. However, despite mosquito bitten legs, a throbbing ankle and a sad lack of bedding, my mental state was far from sorry. Instead, I was filled with overwhelming appreciation for the woman rustling around in the sleeping bag next to me; in the dark I thought of our twelve years of friendship, and it brought me to reflect on the power and importance of female friendships.

In todays fast paced, often narcissistic and patriarchal society, I believe it is impossible to underestimate the impact that women can have on other women.

Too often in media and popular culture, female friendships are defined as shallow, gossipy and orientated towards the male gaze. Internalised misogyny can lead us to unknowingly treat other women with hostility, as if they are our competition rather than our comrades. This hostility manifests in the sphere of social media, where young women in particular are urged to ‘compete’ for likes and attention, and where jealousy and judgement are all too easy to give in to.

Empowerment comes when we refuse to accept these problematic ways of thinking and feeling.

Really, we should be appreciating our fellow women and celebrating our similarities as well as our differences.

We should build each other  up rather than tear each other down, and we should bask in the empowerment that female friendships can offer.

So this post is just a little shout to all the wonderful women in my life.

To my new college neighbour who made me ginger tea when I woke up sick on my 18th birthday, having just moved out of home.

To the old family friend who gives me clothes and tea wisdom.

To every woman who lends a hair lacky or a kind word.

And of course to my best mate who carries me up literal and metaphorical hills.

So next time you see female relationships represented as bitchy and meaningless in a movie, consider how problematic that representation is. Make an effort to support the women in your life, and to appreciate their support for you.

In a world where we can often feel bombarded by that pesky patriarchy, positive female friendships have an uncanny kind of power. That is certainly something to celebrate.