Finalist 2016: Tasha Hurley, NSW
Name: Tasha Hurley
Community, State: Condobolin, NSW
School: All Saints College, Bathurst
Age: 16, Grade 11
Why is gender equality important to you and your community?
Gender equality is the state in which access to rights or opportunities is unaffected by gender. The all too common image of a 1950’s housewife is a thing of the past. No longer should women living on farms be labeled as only a “Farmer’s wife”, someone whose duty it is to make scones, clean the house and feed the chooks.
To me, gender equality is important in my community because those women, whose lives were affected by the decade long drought at the beginning of the century, were faced with as much heartache and exhausting work as their male counterpart. They weren’t inside all day cleaning, they were out in the elements working alongside their partners trying to do anything they could to save their properties. They are not just “farmer’s wives”. They are mediators, counsellors, financial officers, caterers, shed hands, business partners, fencers and mechanics. They are farmers. Many women in rural areas often have to work long days in town, earning a living, before returning home to fight the drought. The women of my local community worked just as hard as anyone else during the drought, and still continue to. So to be labeled as “just a farmer’s wife” and have the stereotype surrounded by it is completely unjust and disgraceful.
For many young Australian girls growing up in rural areas, it is a fact of life that if they want to work on a farm when they are older, they have to marry a farmer. This has become inevitable as, for centuries, it is has been known that the eldest son of the family is the one who inherits the family business/title or fortune. It is estimated that only 10% of farm successors are daughters. The gender of your children should in no way affect the decision as to who inherits the family farm. The inheritor of the farm should be the child who is most emotionally and physically invested in the property. If more farms were handed down to decedents who want to be there, a lot less people would be walking off the land, and the culture of passing on the family farm through the generations would continue.
Gender equality is important to me and my community, because the women who work tirelessly to support their partners and save their beloved farms deserve the equal acknowledgment and respect of any male who does the same.