Finalist 2016: Nellie-May Louise Huth, QLD

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Name: Nellie-May Louise Huth

Community, State: Cunnamulla, QLD

School: Charleville School of Distance Education

Age: 14, Grade 10


Why is gender equality important to you and your community?

“Gender equality … is a human issue.” (Nyamayaro: 2014). I believe that men and women should work together to bring about gender equality. If only half the population is in agreement, what is the point? Frieda Pinto’s quote (2015) supports my view that “Gender equality is a human fight, not a female fight.” Furthermore, Elizabeth Nyamayaro (2014), executive director of UN women, strongly promoted the engagement of men in the fight for gender equality for her HeForShe campaign. To me, gender equality means the realisation of many dreams like equal amount of pay, no discrimination and a world full of bliss.

 

Fourteen years ago, I was born in Charleville. Later, I moved to Cunnamulla but the expectations of ‘growing up to be a lady’ followed me like a shadow. At home, I was encouraged to do ‘girlish’ tasks by helping mum with chores such as looking after our chooks, dogs and cats, and ensuring that they had clean water and food. I longed to work on the farm. That longingness was crushed by the belief that farming was a “man’s job”. My life is only half complete. Do I have to fight for gender equality to fulfil my dreams only because I am a girl?

 

Cunnamulla, meaning ‘long stretch of water,’ lies roughly 808 kilometres west of Brisbane. It has a population of 1,641. 50.4% are male while 49.6% are female (Wikipedia: 2016). Here, men rely heavily on women for support. I know from experience that a man cannot cope by himself in the paddock. For instance, I help in mustering the cattle, fixing fences, cleaning water troughs, feeding the cattle lick1 and raising lambs and poddy2 calves. On sheep properties, most women help with shearing, drenching and ensuring that sheep don’t get fly-blown3. Are these women recognised for their contributions? The stereotypical belief prevails that women are “helping hands”. Women in Cunnamulla need recognition and gender equality.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics,

between 1990 and 2009, the national gender pay gap ranged from 15% to 17% (2015). This gap could be a result of direct discrimination. Possibly, the trickle-down effect of this inequality would be faced by smaller communities.

 

Australia is a land of opportunities. I welcome any opportunity to stand up with the human rights advocates and fight against gender inequality. Finally, I endorse Angelou’s (2007) strong conviction that, “Each time a woman stands up for herself … she stands up for all women.”

Bibliography

Definitions

1-Lick: lick is a dry substance that cattle eat in dry weather conditions. Farmers buy lick to keep their cattle alive when there is not much else for them to eat.

2- Poddy: a poddy is when a lamb or calf has been abandoned by their mother and needs reared on the bottle by humans to survive.

3- Fly-blown: fly-blown is when flies annoy sheep around their bottoms, which is bad, so the sheep have to get crutched and sprayed to stop the flies annoying the sheep.