Winner 2016: Melinda Mees, NT

Home»Winner 2016: Melinda Mees, NT

thumbnail_photoName: Melinda Mees

Community, State: Humpty Doo, NT

School: Taminmin College

Age: 18, Grade: 12

Bio: Click here 

Melinda’s Power Trip is generously being sponsored by the National Rural Women’s Coalition, who are helping us empower young rural women. Thanks NRWC! nrwc-logo_lr-270x110

Why is gender equality important to you and your community?

Women who work full time earn 17.5% less than men. The superannuation payout for women is slightly over half those of men and only one fifth of all government ministers are women. As a young women myself, I look at these figures and feel a spectrum of emotions from astonished to anguished. Because, in less than a year’s time I will be out in the workforce, yet I will not receive the same opportunities that men, with my qualification, and my level of experience will receive. You see, this is why gender equality is important to me.

As a female, I feel we are underrepresented in society compared to males; especially in boards and senior management where females make up only 18.6% of the top 200 Australian companies. While I spout facts about the hardships of women because of gender inequality, I want to highlight that gender equality is not only campaigning for women to have the same rights as men. However, gender equality is the notion that anyone, regardless of their gender, should receive equal treatment and opportunities. In my rural community, 75% of suicides are male and the males in my community are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than those in urban areas. This is due to society’s pressure for men to always be ‘masculine’ and ‘tough’. Men are not to show weakness, for they would be ridiculed for even shedding a tear, and hence, they are less likely to get the help they need. Why should men not be able to show their emotions like women do? Men need gender equality as much as females if they want to break out of the everyday stereotypes. For if men could talk about their feelings, and not be judged, the suicide rates in my rural community would not be as high.

For many centuries we have lived in a male dominated environment. While that gap between male and female is steadily decreasing I don’t believe that just because he has a ‘Y’ chromosome he is better than me. I want to have the opportunity to prove that I can do just as well, if not better. Furthermore, I don’t believe that males should also be stereotyped as ‘masculine’, and suffer under the burden of societies stereotypes. This is why gender equality is important, not just for me and my community, but all over the world.