Top 15: Emily Hobart

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

Author: Emily Hobart

Community: Karratha, WA

Age: 16

Gender equality: It’s a topic that has brought forth a large number of questions over many generations. Both men and women have campaigned for the rights of women, with the ‘fight for females’ having a large number of wins.

In Australia, these wins have been in the form of women’s suffrage and the development of women being enabled to take various leadership roles. The most recent and obvious example of this, is the appointment of Ms Julia Gillard to the role of Australian Prime Minister. Women in leadership positions are on the increase. In the city of Karratha, where I reside 1600 kilometres from Perth, the number of women who hold leadership is on the steep incline.

At the school I attend, the Principal, Deputy Registra, Heads of Learning Areas and three out of four House Coordinators are female. These teachers are not alone, with many of the local primary schools also having women at their heads. Even the Regional Executive Director is female. These women are now working hard to empower the next generation of women.

As a city heavily reliant upon the mining industry, Karratha revolves around the work being done. Over recent years, the numbers of women in this sector have increased dramatically. In comparison to the 1970s where mining was a men’s game, the industry is now heavily populated by women. Many leadership positions are being occupied by women, with management positions and team leader positions highly regarded and sought after. Not only is holding these positions an important step in bridging the gender divide, but considering these women have achieved these positions entirely on their own merit, is a credit on its own.

In my community, many ‘City of Karratha’ leadership positions are held by women, with four of the five councillor positions taken by women. During the 7 years I have lived in Karratha, I have seen my home grow and develop from a busy country town to a newly affirmed ‘City of Karratha.’

My community has taken great steps to improve its stance on gender equality, however, more can be done. Numbers of females in the Pilbara Regiment are low, as are numbers of women in the police force. Sporting teams, and leadership positions within these teams, are still heavily dominated by males.

The ‘Women in Leadership’ seminar, held annually in Karratha is a recent initiative focusing on women in the Pilbara. It offers insight into local issues affecting women and upcoming events that women in leadership roles across the Pilbara might be interested in. This initiative is an effective way to gather these powerful females together, to create an opportunity for networking and developing an effective conversation regarding major issues.

Karratha and the surrounding areas are home to a large number of indigenous women, many of whom are Aboriginal elders in the community. The women from the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi tribes, as well as elders from neighbouring areas, make an impact on the lives of both indigenous and non-indigenous members of the community by sharing their views, inspirations and stories with the members of society.

The City of Karratha is slowly but surely taking steps to improve its stance on gender equality, but still more can be done.

‘A woman is the full circle, within her is the power to create, nurture and transform’ – Diane Mariechild.