Runner-up 2015: Damita Dixon, WA
Author: Damita Dixon
Community, State: Kalbarri , WA
Age, Grade: 16, Year 11
If you were Prime Minister for a day, what would you do to help achieve gender equality? Think locally and nationally!
If I were Prime Minister it would be very important that gender inequality issues were addressed. Greater gender equality can be achieved through equal representation of men and women in the parliament, workforce and media, uniting women for empowerment and recognizing that men suffer social pressures too. All of these problems are harmful and unnecessarily restrictive upon the lives of both men and women.
As Prime Minister, one of my main political goals would be to achieve a parliament of equal men and women. It is not practical, in such a well-developed country, to still have women as a marginal influence on the way our country operates. If we want people to be treated equally and have equal opportunities, they must be equally represented. This goal is not only refined to the political sphere, I would also encourage the ratio between men and women in some workplaces to achieve greater balance. It should be everybody’s responsibility to encourage all children to seek jobs they feel passionate about, regardless of traditional gender roles.
As it has become extremely influential, I would like to see advertising in mainstream media a little less obsessed with using the sexualisation of women and girls for marketing. These portrayals of women are detrimental to how they are perceived, their dignity and their self-image. Women should be represented in all the realistic ways that men are represented so that we can teach girls that they are capable people and have more worth then their appearance.
To achieve greater gender equality, we must bring women together. Uniting women at all kinds of levels whether it be through sporting clubs or support groups, avenues where they can connect, encourage and motivate each other. When women and girls are socially supported they can develop and reach higher goals to contribute more actively to their community and nation. As Malala Yousafzai stated “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back”. It is important that we give women a voice in all areas of our nation, be it in the home, the community or in politics.
We must liberate ourselves from old expectations, generalisations and restrictive views against both women and men. It is important to recognise that men experience these pressures, even if they manifest themselves differently. This notion of masculinity puts pressure on men to behave certain ways that limit them from being able to effectively express themselves. These social constructs can be difficult issues to face, though i believe it would make a drastic difference to raise and treat boys and girls the same way so they learn equality from an early age.
As a Prime Minister all of these issues would be a priority to achieve greater gender equality and social equilibrium. Ideas surrounding gender must evolve, and we’ve got to leave behind what used to be. If our communities, our countries and the next generation are to thrive we must allow everyone their voice, their liberty and their contribution regardless of their pronouns.