Top 15: Melissa Brown

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

Author: Melissa Brown

Community: Beaudesert, QLD

Age: 17

Gender discrimination is still very much a part of today’s society. Beaudesert is a small country town that has a population of 6,000. After conducting a survey with women who live and work in the Beaudesert community, there is a general consensus that there is still a significant gender gap, with 80% saying they believed that there is still a substantial gap between genders in Beaudesert

This gender inequality stretches further than the Beaudesert area, with a 17% pay gap between genders nationwide. Why is it that women get paid less for doing the exact same job as their male counterparts? I believe that this inequality is introduced to younger generations and becomes a social norm in later years. One lady interviewed kindly shared her experience of gender discrimination during her schooling years, “… in the class, other teachers came in and asked for ‘two strong men’ to do a job, not women. This is extremely sexist.” This behaviour not only teaches young boys that discriminating against girls is ok, it also convinces girls that they’re not capable of performing tasks to the same level as boys. When these young girls grow up and enter the workforce, they are not as confident and are less likely to strive for the goals they are more then capable of achieving, in fear that skills will be ignored and only gender will be taken into consideration. One solution suggested by a local woman is that, “When submitting resumes, names should be left out so that people are hired for their ability, not their gender.” This recommendation would give women a better chance to achieve the jobs they deserve, as well as providing women with more confidence, as they will be judged on their skills rather than their gender.

Rural women face this gender inequality to a larger extent compared to women in the city. This is because of the minimal number of powerful women, such as those in parliament and CEO positions, providing young women with role models in rural areas, such as Beaudesert. Without a female leader to aspire to, many young women settle for lower positions and are not educated on how to diminish gender discrimination. These young country women need to be provided with opportunities to learn that they are capable of reaching powerful positions in the workplace, and strive to become a role model for future generations.

It is my opinion that gender inequality will never fully disappear. However, country towns such as Beaudesert need to provide ways for young women to meet female leaders and opportunities to participate in activities that would usually be male-dominated.  By providing women with these opportunities the gender gap will decrease significantly, as well as the amount of barriers that rural women face. No matter our place of origin, all women should be inspired and encouraged to conquer all of their dreams.