Winner 2017: Rose Denovan

Home»Winner 2017: Rose Denovan

Name: Rose Denovan

Community, State: Bathurst, NSW

School: All Saints College

Age, Grade: 17 years old, Grade 11

Bio: Click here

Rose’s Power Trip is kindly being sponsored by AgriFutures Australia!

From primary school to Prime Minister, how can we create strong pathways to power for women?

Gender equality is a prevailing global issue, and embedded in our cultural and historical identity. The systemic revival of misogyny in Australian media and culture only makes leadership more inaccessible to the modern women. While boys are told to be surgeons, astronauts and politicians, girls are taught to constrain themselves to traditionally feminine roles. In confining themselves to the ideogram of the housewife, the nurse, or the schoolteacher, women are reduced to limited archetypes which are detrimental to their sense of identity. This ingrained cultural paradigm perpetuates the reduction of a woman’s worth to a single traditional feminine stereotype and continues to permeate throughout Australian society. This mentality is the largest barrier to success for women- we are constantly defined by stereotypes designed to limit our potential.

An emphasis on anti-discriminatory teaching implemented at a primary school level would facilitate the breaking down of this cultural barrier. Cultural empowerment is a prerequisite for any girl to develop the same ambitions and aspirations as their male counterparts, and therefore, Empowerment Programs should additionally be implemented in senior years of High School. The eradication of prevailing sexist mentalities in schools would resonate in business and politics within years. Furthermore, an entrance program into degrees such as law, economics and politics for young women, through metropolitan and rural testing centres, would make opportunities significantly more accessible than before and limit the geographical and cultural isolation women face.

At a national level, we should implement a political strategy aimed to negate gender bias within the legal framework. “In 2014, 49 per cent of mothers reported experiencing discrimination in the workplace at some point during pregnancy, parental leave or on return to work”[1]. Thus, creating an institutional framework supporting women through accessible onsite childcare and paid maternity leave would improve gender equality. The Australian business and political sector lags behind international advancement; “There are only four female CEOs and four female chairs in the ASX top 200 companies.”[2] Female underrepresentation in leadership positions stems from a cultural segregation of jobs, where the the top management posts are male concentrated. This can be addressed by a compulsory government quota of females in positions of management, as well as female focused training schemes into high positions of leadership in the corporate sector.

We are half the population, and yet the majority of our leaders are male. Women are equally capable, and therefore should be equally represented.

[1] Australian Human Rights Commission, Face the facts: Gender Equality,

[2] iHR Australia, Breaking The Glass Ceiling,