Finalist 2016: Kate Kiely, WA
Name: Kate Kiely
Community, State: Tom Price
School: Tom Price Senior High School
Age: 16, Grade 11
Why is gender equality important to you and your community?
I live in a small mining community in the Pilbara and I highly value gender equality. To me, gender equality means the equal and unbiased treatment of both genders, whether it be in relation to pay, politics, sport or personal appearance. I believe that gender equality is not about man-hating. It is not about guilt tripping the opposite sex. It is, however, about changing the way that gender is viewed and the unfair aspects of our society make people feel inferior. Furthermore, it is a common misconception that gender equality is more necessary for females than males, and that the two are totally different issues. As Emma Watson said, “it is time we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals”.
Gender equality is very important to me because I know many people who have been affected by it as a result of generations of ingrained ideas about pre-determined roles and characteristics of both genders. I believe that I should never be made to feel inferior because of my gender. I should not have to ask to be treated the same as boys during sport. I should not have to ask to be given the same opportunities as the boys, and I should not be made to feel scared of taking leadership roles in fear of being called ‘a bossy girl’ or a ‘control freak’. Lastly, it should not be assumed that I am weaker or perform worse than my male counterparts. These assumptions have caused me to miss opportunities in sport because I was considered unable to complete the task to the standard of the males, even when I knew that I could match their standards.
Also, the large pay gap between males and female on Western Australian mines is another exhibition of gender inequality in my community. How can we, women, expect to achieve gender equality when we are still being paid far less than men for the same jobs? However, males within my community are also trapped by gender inequality. Many of my male friends feel that they cannot express ‘feminine’ characteristics because they will be teased and it will harm their ‘masculinity’. Male inequality may be subtler and less heard of, but it is equally important in achieving a gender equal community.
With these things said, my community is still striving towards gender equality and we are positively reinforcing gender equality into the non-equal aspects of our community.