Finalist 2016: Lily Day, VIC
Name: Lily Day
Community, State: Moyhu, VIC
School: Cathedral College Wangaratta
Age: 17, Grade 11
Why is gender equality important to you and your community?
According to the oxford dictionary, feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. The key word being equality. The equal treatment, respect and opportunity that would make male and female, become ‘people’. United, instead of divided, in an outdated fight over gender roles and the ability to lead. This ultimate goal of equality would not only apply to the two traditional genders that have been the central focus of the debate, but would include the entire spectrum of personal identification that our diverse species experiences.
I believe that people are people, whether they have dark skin or blue eyes, whether they like the same sex or the opposite, whether they dress in vibrant colours or identify as Goth, people are just people. This myriad of traits creates a world full of unique ideas, opportunities and experiences. If we accept this diverse range of qualities then why are so many people on the gender spectrum not given the same rights, opportunities and respect as the Caucasian heterosexual male?
In my community female equality is slowly becoming a reality. In our electorate of Indi, the seat is held by a woman and the two front runners in the recent federal election were both women. Two of our three administrators in the Wangaratta council are women and most members of our Youth Council including are females.
This is important as it is teaching young girls in our community that they can lead by, showing them examples of women that do. Leading by example is the best way to end the inequality, our children learn from us so it is our responsibility to teach them well.
The benefits of having both men and women in leadership positions is that a wide range of ideas and values are shared, perspectives from many different people lead to better decisions being made on behalf of our community.
Women still have a long way to go until we are truly equal, but we have to remember that we aren’t the only ones. Biases still exist against all of us, many men with interests, expressions or appearances outside of the stereotypical masculine leader also struggle. The world is not an equal place, ending gender inequality doesn’t just end with women. As Emma Watson said in her speech to the UN assembly ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’” We all need to speak up about gender inequality, so why not start today.