Top 15: Charlie Beaty

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Analyse gender equality in your community. Should more be done to empower women?

Author: Charlie Beaty

Community: Whyalla, SA

Age: 17

Growing up I never thought gender equality was an issue, but then again, I didn’t think anything was an issue. As I got older the normalisation of women belonging ‘in the kitchen’ and not in the work force was upon me, along with the thought that if I wanted to be smart, I couldn’t be pretty. Gender equality still hadn’t dawned on me when I heard these comments. I thought they were merely harmless jokes.

When I started to enjoy things like science, new comments emerged, comments like, “wow you’re almost as smart as the boys!” As these comments came into light, things like being pretty and being smart were looked at as two separate things. A woman couldn’t possibly have more than one personality trait.

These things made me wonder why? Why do women belong in the kitchen? Why do I have to aspire to be as smart as males? Why can’t I dress feminine but also be looked at as intelligent? The answer is simple. The society I grew up in believes that being feminine is something weak, something not comparable to being masculine. This is so generalised in the town and society I live in, that even most females don’t think twice about it. Growing up as a girl meant I should aspire to be pretty instead of smart. That I should try to fit the expectations of a man so I can get married and have children.

Girls are hearing that they aren’t allowed to play football with the male students because they wouldn’t be able to handle it. They’re hearing comments about having a certain hair colour automatically makes you dumb. Something definitely needs to be done about this. It’s simple: if the amazing women in the workforce had the spotlight on them as much as males do, maybe one day girls can grow up without having to think about why they can’t do things. Maybe they will one day think about how they can do things.