Finalist 2016: Madeline McShane, SA
Name: Madeline McShane
Community, State: Port Lincoln, SA
School: Saint Joseph’s School
Age: 15, Grade 10
Why is gender equality important to you and your community?
The world is definitely changing, and for the better. Simple inequalities that have been deeply ingrained in our society for generations are being altered. The wage gap between genders is closing, there are more women in positions of power, and females everywhere are gaining respect. Gender equality is just around the corner, and it is sensational. It aims to ensure men and women receive the same opportunities in every aspect of life. This is so vital to the development of human rights.
My beautiful home Port Lincoln is reputed for being the rich, industrious ‘fishing capital of Australia’. Unlike so many others, I have grown up here, without feeling as if I was being limited from achieving my dreams based on my gender. I have been encouraged to do what I love, been supported by my peers. I feel that people in rural communities actually receive more support than those in cities, because of the connections people share with one another. I understand that my story of having lived my short life without being judged for my gender is not common, but it is becoming more so. For this I am grateful to my matriarchal foremothers, teaching me that my gender is not an impediment on my success. If our town is able to harness the skill sets of both males and females, and give them both equal opportunities, then surely we are more likely to be successful; in finance, in education, in life.
I need gender equality, because I want to walk through my life being treated as an equal. I don’t want to enter the workforce next to my male colleagues, knowing that for every task they do, I will have to work doubly as hard simply to keep up. I want the world to recognize that although it may appear that females are less physically able, they are not weaker. We have minds that function with upmost intelligence; we have skills of incredible variety. Yes, males and females have differences, but their values are equal.
Australia is beginning to appreciate women for the wonderful, capable people they are, and this is so important. The fact that abilities of both genders are being utilized means that we can continue to make developments to having a better future. The fight for gender equality is not only a fight for women, but a fight for humanity.