2015 is an important year for recognizing the advancement of women’s rights. Since the Fourth World Conference on women in Beijing twenty years ago, governments, civil society and the United Nations have translated the 12 critical areas of concern in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action’s promises into changes. On Monday 10 August 2015, the Parliament event “My Vote My Voice 2015” was held for Students from 10 schools making speeches about Beijing +20 Theme in the Legislative Council Chamber.
Victoria Waid from Academy of Mary Immaculate shared how her experiences of being part of a community project in India changed her thoughts and feelings of being a girl; Diya John from St Monica’s College told us how media had an effect on the achievement of gender equality. Moreover, students from University High School; Mac.Robertson Girls High School, Melbourne Girls Grammar, Methodist Ladies College and Ruyton Girls College made unique, inspiring and amazing speeches. The following two paragraphs were summarised from the speeches made by Victoria and Diya.
Women and the media
The problem of pre-mature sexualisation is one of the greatest issues. Feminism was meant to end the exploitation of females. Today this is failed as the movement of sexual liberalism. However, the media calls itself the freedom of speech. It even defends its sexual images and pornography. As a result, we see more rape, stalking, harassment and sexual abuse. And young girls have been turned into sexual objects earlier and earlier. The ceaseless effort in achieving gender equality is always hampered by continuing sexualisation or gender stereotyping of women in the media. Men must be involved in this process of change as well. Ultimately, we need a new global movement to stand up against those sexual freedom of speech and sex industry. We need to empower our girls to be resilient to defend their dignity.
Women and the economy
Women’s economic empowerment does not always look like ‘graduating’ from work in the informal non-cash economy to better paying work in the formal economy. Women’s work is not equitable or just. Women continue to spend more time on unpaid household and care work than men. “My mum is expected to cook, to clean and to work. I expect to share the household work with my partner in the future”. The progress of gender equality is measured by every single life that has changed. We can see it is progressively transforming in each generation that brings us to our goal.Women can be in power and in control of their actions, their needs and their wants.
Following by the panel responses made by Judy Maddigan, Speaker, Legislative Assembly, 2003-2010, Cr Jenny Mullholland, City of Banyule and Ms Samantha Dunn MP, Eastern Metropolitan Province, certificates of appreciation were given to Ms Safa Al Marhourn, VMC Youth Commissioner, who opened the event, and to Yueying Wang, Amanda Xu, Dr Helen Hill and Dr Anne S. Walker who witnessed the Fourth World Conference in Beijing 20 years ago. The event closed with a speech of thanks made by Sarah Morgan, Convenor Young NCW Vic.
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