Finalist 2017: Ashlee Rynne, QLD

Home»Finalist 2017: Ashlee Rynne, QLD

Name: Ashlee Rynne

Community, State: Cloyna, QLD

School: Murgon State High School

Age: Year 11, 15 years old

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From primary school to Prime Minister, how can we create strong pathways to power for women?

I believe from primary school to prime minister the best way  to create strong pathways to power for women is to provide experiences that expose young, rural women to good role models and knowledge of the wider world.  “There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise” (Bosa Sabelle).

Rural women are just as capable as our city counterparts. Even though women who grow up in the city have a lot more educational opportunities available to them, rural women have grown up learning how to make the most of their limited access available to resources. I am a fourth generation rural woman, I live on a property and I am the youngest of 4 daughters. Resourcefulness and responsibility are traits developed while mustering cantankerous cows, trudging through the mud to clean out pig sheds and at the controls of the tractor helping Dad drag a steer out of a dam bog.

The backbone of rural communities are the women who have inherited responsibilities including the organising, the fundraising, the catering or helping with cleaning around the community. My sisters and I have always actively supported our mother as she has taken on these roles from her mother within our community. Developing personal skills and having inspirational role models is the most effective pathway to power for women.

Statistics show that between 1949 and 2013 female students enrolled in higher education increased by 34.6% and males have decreased by 35.9% (The Conversation, 2010). Statistics also show that women are enrolled in education, health, social sciences and the creative arts. While this suggests women have a drive to improve their education, they are severely underrepresented among students of IT, engineering and related technologies, and architecture and building. This gender difference means women tend to have lower incomes and hold fewer positions of power in the workforce. Rural women need to be supported financially by scholarships so they are not putting pressure on family finances that are already strained by the season and market prices.

We should encourage empowered females who have achieved in life and who are in the workforce to come back and visit the rural communities as guest speakers to inspire the younger rural generation. The effect of this would be for them to become role models to the young females which in turn will allow them to be empowered themselves.

Overall, the best way to create strong pathways to power for women is by providing experiences that expose young rural women to good role models and knowledge.