Finalist 2016: Shaquille Swan, NT

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Name: Shaquille Swan

Community, State: Alice Springs, NT

School: Worawa Aboriginal College

Age: 15

Why is gender equality important to you and your community?

Gender Equality is a problem women encounter across the globe. Women face it when they go to work, they face it at home and they also face it in the community. Gender equality is different in many cultures and between different countries.

Women who go to work often get less pay for doing the same job as men. It has been a problem in Australia and in most countries. Women had to fight for equal pay.

As a young aboriginal women I think it is important, because in the communities the big decisions are mainly made by the men and the women hardly get a say in what happens with the land, money and other things. I believe that women should have a say in what happens in the community and because then, those women can be role models to young aboriginal girls, so they then can stand up and be leaders and have gender equality . There are many examples of strong aboriginal women. Many are leaders and they have to make important decisions daily.

Patricia Turner was born in Alice Springs (this is where I come from). Patricia became the most senior Indigenous government official in Australia. As a women she reached the highest levels of government, she fought for aboriginal rights and is an activist. This goes to show that women deserve to be equals in all aspects of life. And are equal to men.

Gender equality is a ‘natural right’. There is no reason why women in the community cannot make important decisions. Often they live all their life in their community, so they are best placed to know what to do.

My name is Shaquille Swan. I am 15 years old and I am from Alice Springs, NT. I have lived there my whole life yet have hardly ever seen women make community decisions. I will make sure that I decide what I will do, will think and say.

Gender Equality means being allowed to make decisions for yourself and others in your community.