Finalist 2016: Pauline Siteaud, NSW
Name: Pauline Siteaud
Community, State: Broulee, NSW
School: Carrol College Broulee
Age: 18, Grade 12
Why is gender equality important to you and your community?
Across the world and in my community; men and women should have equal exposure to the same opportunities. Yet in Australia, women still remain under-represented in parliament and executive government, women continue to earn, on average, 17.5% less than men for the same work, 49% of women in Australia will experience discrimination during pregnancy and when returning to work, and 14.8% of women experienced sexual harassment sometimes during the year of 2014 compared to 6.6% of men (Australian Bureau of Statistics).
I believe that gender doesn’t define a person’s capabilities or potential to do well in different aspects of life. It doesn’t define their characteristics, qualities or competences. Gender shouldn’t divide society but rather unite it to make it stronger.
I have the chance to be in a school where I am not limited because I am a girl and where I am not victim of discrimination. However, many other girls in my community aren’t as lucky. Gender inequality needs to stop, women must be respected in the same way that men are respected, they must be in a position where they can make their own decision about their body, and they must be treated equally to men in all aspects of life.
But gender inequality doesn’t just involve women. I have seen in my community men who have suffered of mental illness, yet were too scared to ask for help in fear of being referred to as “weak”. This needs to stop. Both men and women should be allowed to be sensitive, both men and women should have the opportunity to be the head-officer of a successfully-run company, both men and women should have the rights to make decisions regarding their own lives. Both men and women should feel free to not be judged on their gender but rather on their personalities, skills and talents.
Equal rights, obligations and opportunities for women and men are fundamental to my community in order to provide a peaceful, enjoyable and safe place to live in. Gender equality is about the ideas and actions that make men and women equal on a spectrum. It is important that there is equality at school, in the workforce, at home, on the street and everywhere else. It is essential to my community to provide an environment where it is ok for women and men to express themselves and to succeed in all of their prospects in life.