Finalist 2016: Amy Muir, NSW

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Author: Amy Muir

Community, State: Lithgow, NSW

School: Lithgow High School

Age: 16, Year 11

Why is gender equality important to you and your community?

Gender equality is extremely important to me and my community because absolutely everybody, regardless of gender, deserves to be treated with respect and shouldn’t be constrained by the stereotypes and expectations that are placed on both genders.

Gender equality is not achieved by ridiculing and hating the opposite gender, it is achieved by working together to cater to everyone’s abilities, providing equal opportunities to succeed. Gender inequality arises when stereotypes and sexism leads to a certain gender being disadvantaged. In most circumstances, this sexism is directed at females and can be damaging in home, public or workplace environments.

Lithgow, the town that I live in, is a beautiful place filled with a vast number of incredible individuals. It is an industrial town whose main employment is the coal mines and power stations. Originally, the men were the ones who worked, the money makers. Times have changed and so have these roles. It’s time attitudes adapted as well. We are now seeing increasing numbers of women excelling in careers previously dominated by men, signifying a major step towards gender equality. With these changes come choices, women see others fulfilling career paths and lifestyles that were not previously open to them.

Younger generations in our communities need strong, hardworking, intelligent and empowering role models to guide them. Improved gender equality in the Lithgow community has led to women holding more prominent positions. Four out of six principals and our Mayor are examples of women who have had the courage to reject traditional gender roles; and as a student, community member and school leader, I am inspired by them.

People providing support to those whose step out of gendered activities generate necessary feelings of equality. It was the support and values of my community that gave me the confidence to become an NRL referee. I was startled to discover that people were excited to see a girl in this male dominated sport.
Gender equality is important in our community because it is the conversations that we have in our homes and the actions and values of the people closest to us that have the greatest impact on our own opinions and values. Once gender equality is promoted it radiates to the rest of society.

Gender equality is incredibly important to me and my community because we all deserve to grow up knowing that our ability and potential is not measured by our gender.