Winner 2015: Nooria Muradi, NT

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FullSizeRender (16)Author: Nooria Muradi

Community, State: Alice Springs, NT

Age, Grade: 17, Year 11

Bio: Click here

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

Alice Springs is my beautiful place called home. My name is Nooria Muradi, I was born in Afghanistan. I am passionate for gender equality – why? Because I know too well, how it feels to be discriminated against based solely on my gender.

While I was growing up in Afghanistan, I was treated differently than my older brother. I felt I was a shame because I was simply a female. Often at times, my mother would say, ‘Nooria, don’t play outside!’

I would ask, ‘Why?’

The words that followed were like sharp, thin needles penetrating my heart, ‘Because you are a girl’.

When I arrived in Australia as a young girl, I thought this is it! I was never going to be discriminated against due to my gender. For the first time in my life I wasn’t looked down upon due to my gender. However, once I reached maturity I began to realise I was still being discriminated against, gender equality still impacted my life, now, however, in other forms. I remember at the end of year 10, I was choosing my subjects for year 11. My male teacher came up to me, ‘Nooria, I don’t think physics is a good choice’

I asked, ‘Why?’

‘Well, not many girls…are good at it, you see’ he replied, making direct eye contact. All my visions from Afghanistan came rushing towards me, it wasn’t going to go away, unless change is implanted.

I’m a believer in change and progression. If I was Prime Minister for a day, I would introduce two strategies.

My first strategy is on a national level that is to change national policy. This would include eliminating the gender wage bias by females and males being paid exactly the same amount. I would also impose a gender course as part of the Australian Curriculum to teach the future generation of Australians that being a male or a female does not make you superior or inferior under any grounds.

My second strategy would be a public campaign that would focus on workplace gender inequality and our culture of bias towards women. It would concentrate on using social media to communicate ‘being a girl’ had no flaws. This would also be at a local level by holding focus groups with girls and sharing their ideas of how gender equality could be improved. As part of my campaign I would also include female advisory boards to local and national governments. In Alice Springs, this would mean the introduction of female representatives (teachers, managers, workers) from the community that would report to the council on gender equality and what needs to improve, for instance racial discrimination of women in the workplace.

To sum up my final thoughts, this is a poem I have composed:

I am a girl,

Like a pearl.

As proud as one can be,

Always trying to be free.

I want the world to know

Being a female is not something low.