Runner-up 2015: Maddison Curtis, NT

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20151010_174229Author: Maddison Curtis

Community, State: Humpty Doo, Northern Territory

Age, Grade: 16, Year 10

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

From the beginning of time gender inequality has been a dividing factor between men and women. It’s such an important social issue that divides communities and nations and needs to be eradicated. So what is gender equality? Well in simple terms, gender equality is the state in which men and women have equal rights and opportunities, and equal recognition for their contributions to the growth and development of communities. Gender inequality is the complete opposite.

From the biblical times, to the French Revolution, to present day, women have been viewed as a lesser gender. In many countries around the world, particularly third world countries, women have no rights or substantially less rights than men. Many women are banned from working or if they do work they receive much lower pay than a man. The opportunities for women to be educated is much less compared to a man and in many countries girls do not even attend school.

In Australia gender inequality seems to be most prevalent when it comes to equal pay for equal experience and qualifications for employment between men and women. Even in modern day Australia, a developed nation, there are many who say that gender inequality is very much alive, and that governments, communities and social groups/organizations need to do more towards eliminating this global dilemma. Some of this may be due to the influences of religion, cultural background and just the mindset that men are stronger and therefore more superior to women.

If I were Prime Minister for a day what would I do to achieve gender equality? That’s a difficult question, and when you think about how this issue is not just a national issue but a global one it would be an almost impossible task to rectify in one short day. It’s about changing peoples ideas and perceptions, which have been ingrained into peoples minds for thousands of years. Nevertheless I will list below the actions I would take to achieve this.

I strongly believe that introducing a new law to the parliament that states ‘All men and women in the same employment positions, with the same qualifications and experience are paid equally”. This would be a good starting point in the journey towards gender equality for Australia. If given the opportunity I also think a public statement either announced in front of an audience or broadcasted across digital and social media, would also be an effective motion in which the community (youth and Adult) can be made aware of this dilemma, help contribute, and evidently work towards a resolution.

In conclusion I believe that all men and women should have the right to follow their goals, their dreams, and achieve them despite whether or not they are stereotyped as gender specific. We need to show others that diversity is normal, and it shouldn’t matter what your gender is as long as you are passionate about what you’re choosing to do and enjoy doing it. Anyone and everyone should have the right to do as they please, choose the career path they wish to take, earn equal pay, be granted an equal chance, live as who they truly are, without having those choices typecast as wrong or out of the ordinary.