Runner-up 2015: Breeanna Batrick, WA

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Breeanna BatrickAuthor: Breeanna Batrick

Community, State: Bunbury, WA

Age, Grade: 15, Year 10


 

If you were Prime Minister for a day, what would you do to help achieve gender equality? Think locally and nationally!

Growing up as a girl in Western Australia has always had its disadvantages. Growing up as an Indigenous girl in Western Australia has had even more disadvantages. Since I was young it has been hard to locate a strong Indigenous female politician, and this is more than likely due to the fact that there are so few of them. As far as Indigenous female role models go, the only publicised ones are those successful in the sporting industry. So if I was Prime Minister for a day I would bring about the start of equal representation of women, and especially women of colour, in Parliament by initiating campaigns and sparking ideas for Indigenous female leadership, so that, in time, when an Indigenous girl looks to her government for role models and inspiration she will find a wealth of choices.

Traditionally Indigenous women play such an important role in this country. In the past they made the choices in what happened to their land and people, but as Australia grows, Indigenous people and specifically Indigenous women have been overlooked. Over the last fifteen years the number of Indigenous men in Parliament has risen, but why hasn’t the amount of women? Nova Peris was the first and is the only Indigenous women to be elected into Federal Parliament [1]. To say there is only one person in the whole of Australia’s government representing Indigenous women, a very significant section of Australia’s people, is a sad thought and one that is demeaning to younger generations and to the voice of all women. It is important to have an equal representation of perspective in Parliament. At this moment Aboriginal people, specifically Aboriginal women are not appropriately represented.

To be Prime Minister for a day would give me the power to positively represent and empower Indigenous women, by backing and funding campaigns just like the Country to Canberra competition. Some regional towns and cities already have programs operating like the ones in my schools: the Rolemodels Leadership Academy (Girls Academy) and Clontarf (Boys Academy). These programs support Indigenous children, encourage them to stay in school and choose positive paths, to go further then what society expects of them, to dream. But not enough is being done to give Aboriginal women the boost they need to feel empowered and break the social constrictions that prevent them for setting political and likeminded agendas.

Australia’s widespread mentality of female inferiority needs to be crushed and replaced with empowering female role models. If I was Prime Minister for a day to achieve gender equity, I would make it my goal to ensure that no Aboriginal women or girl feels like they can’t achieve something because no one before them has. I would ensure that the women with roots so deep into this country’s heritage and culture have a voice and that their voice is heard throughout this nation.

[1] https://www.reconciliation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Indigenous-participation-in-parliament.pdf