Gender Equality Summit 2014

By · 15 April, 2014 · Features

The 2014 Gender Equality Summit is happening at Monash University, Caulfield campus, on Tuesday 29th April.    The summit welcomes senior secondary students from across Victoria to come together and discuss the issues of gender inequality around the world, via a series of workshops, debates and discussion groups.  The day will also be a fantastic networking opportunity to meet like-minded peers and mentors.

Rena Ou Yang,  Mattea Mrkusic and Cassandra Prigg have all done so much to make this year’s Gender Equality Summit possible and below they share with us what gender equality means to them.

Gender equality 3

 Rena Ou Yang

Content Coordinator

UN Youth Victoria Gender Equality Summit

 I am currently sitting on a plane as I write this, heading to New York to participate in the National Model United Nations as part of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).  This, along with the Gender Equality summit, has become a huge part of my life lately – so much so that I’ve been dropping statistics about gender inequality into conversation constantly (much to the delight of my friends)! I’m often asked why it matters; why I would dedicate so much of my time to an issue that many view as mostly resolved, especially in a developed country like Australia. While I believe that gender inequality still very much exists in Australia and globally, my passion lies in addressing these issues in places where there is even less choice. Gender equality is something that underlies many of the major issues in our world – it contributes to poverty, health and the economy. Campaigns like The Girl Effect effectively demonstrate how helping even one girl achieve equality has the potential to bring her whole family, future family and even community out of poverty. As a girl who was fortunate enough to have every opportunity in the world, it breaks my heart to think that others are devalued and stripped of choice from the moment they are born simply because of their gender. Of course, this is an issue that affects men too; the life expectancy is higher for women as men often view it ‘unmanly’ to seek help for health issues, especially those concerning mental health. But the ultimate goal of achieving gender equality is to put aside the notion that gender is a key identifying factor. We need to stop labelling people according to their gender; while it is easy for some people, it is not for others and the stereotypes we have need to be put aside. I think we’re all seeking a world that is better, a world that is fair and equal. It is my key belief that that will only occur where a child is born without any prejudice on gender and we start to see past someone’s sex into who they truly are.

 Mattea Mrkusic

Professional Engagement

UN Youth Victoria Gender Equality Summit

 I am a second-year Politics and History major at the University of Melbourne.  After an UN Youth jam-packed high school experience in my native New Zealand, I decided to continue my UN Youth work in Victoria as Professional Engagement Office on the 2014 Gender Equality Summit.  I’m extremely passionate about girls’ education in developing nations and human rights advocacy. My plan of attack for the future features human rights law– and becoming a hybrid of CJ Craig and Stephen Colbert.

Students attend class at school in Sanaa

Cassandra Prigg

Content Creator

UN Youth Victoria Gender Equality Summit

I got involved with UN Youth pretty recently to help convene the Gender Equality summit. I’ve never organised something like this before so I thought I had no chance, but I’m so passionate about equality that I thought I just had to give it a shot, and here I am!  My parents both showed me I could be whatever and whomever I wanted from before I can remember, but it’s more recently that I started really looking at feminism and the long way we still have to go. Once you start noticing the weird, arbitrary and often-pointless ways gender divides the world you just can’t stop, and I hope that’s something we send people home from that summit with. The summit isn’t the end; it’s just the start. We want you to go away with the tools to firstly be better aware and better informed about gender equality, but secondly make a positive change in your schools and communities. We also want to make sure as broad a range of people are able to come as possible, that’s why we have travel and attendance scholarships. You don’t have to know anything about feminism or gender equality to come along; you just have to be curious and open-minded. It should go without saying that people of ALL genders are welcome, this certainly isn’t a girls club and we will be discussing issues that affect everyone.

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