Top 15: Vanessa Sporne

Home»Top 15: Vanessa Sporne

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

Author: Vanessa Sporne

Community: Jamberoo, NSW

Age: 16

“The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl.’” Forty-five years later and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm still accurately describes gender inequality in communities across the globe. I belong to a community that sees women as objects, and that sees women as people who need to be taught how to be women. Women in every community deserve not to live by Chisholm’s idea. Gender inequality exists and begs to be recognised in my contemporary society, for us to do so we need to analyse the issue.

In the Kiama Municipality it’s a societal norm for women to be unfairly judged as “not complete” without a man by their side. Whether they are seventeen or forty-seven, if they’re void of a partner there must be something wrong. If the same were to be seen from a man, society would assume he was in this position on his own account. This ideal derives from the media’s portrayal of females; always by the side of the man of power, wealth and success. Even the bible states how women must be seen as inferior to their husbands, Timothy 2:12: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent.” It’s always the man and his wife, never the woman and her husband.

The sexual objectification of women in my community is constantly present in any girl’s life. From infancy to adulthood, advertising forces images of the perfect woman upon her. In 2007 the University of Sydney conducted a study of 9,000 females throughout New South Wales and found that one in five had starved themselves in order to lose weight. Advertising plays a huge role in determining how women feel about their appearance. This objectification also affects how men treat the female figures in their life. Both genders need to recognise that women are not objects that simply exist to be looked at.

Both these issues imprint on women, subconsciously teaching them how to act. The community impresses upon women guidelines as to how they should behave. Before a female is born a personality is already designed for her, one that agrees with the social norms. It starts by painting the room pink. Females in my community are influenced by popular culture to only talk and think about their love lives and because of this aren’t taken seriously. As soon as they step outside this boundary and consider a belief in feminism they are labeled as a “bitch.” Boys will be boys, but are girls ever girls?

Gender inequality must be addressed within the Kiama Municipality. Both sexes need to be made to notice that women can choose not to have a partner, women are not sexual objects and women can choose who they want to be. More needs to be done to empower women. We do this by teaching them from the beginning that there is more to being a woman than being skinny and talking about boys.