An all-boys school in suburban Brisbane was the strategically significant venue chosen today by Minister for Women Di Farmer to highlight the importance of Queensland Women’s Week 2020.
Addressing 450 senior boys at Villanova College, the Minister entreated them to become a generation of young men committed to gender equity and respect for women.
“On the verge of young adulthood, you can do that simply and effectively, through your own behaviours,” Ms Farmer said.
“One of the first steps towards equality is recognising inequality.
“True and lasting change needs to come from boys and men prepared to call out inequality and urge other males to follow suit.
“It’s not an easy role but I have confidence in you becoming courageous young men.”
During the assembly, the 10 members of the student leadership team made public pledges to respectful relationships with girls and women.
“I pledge to use my voice and stand up for what I know to be right. (Hamish Muir)
“I pledge to thank all mothers, and challenge those who undervalue the demanding role of caring.” (Jack Dunbar)
“I pledge to challenge bias and inequality through challenging stereotypes.” (Murphy Woodger)
“I pledge to challenge female stereotypes within the sporting community and ensure that equal opportunities are given to all.” (Louis Henderson)
“I pledge to celebrate the achievements of the women in my life,” (Declan Ries)
“I pledge to be alert to the disrespectful portrayal and objectification of women on social media and never to share or condone it and challenge those who do.” (Isaak Collie)
“I pledge to call for gender balance in all forms of leadership in society.” (Tadgh O’Neill)
“I pledge to work for a community that treats women with respect and equality.” (James Reid)
“I pledge to challenge the banter of everyday conversations in the playground and when hanging out with my mates that disrespect girls and women.” (Sean Kearns)
Queensland Women’s Week 2020 (6-15 March) is built around the theme of celebrating our diverse community of strong women.
Ms Farmer said much of society’s inequality had been normalised through gender stereotypes, structural inequality and unconscious bias but she was encouraged that many young people – especially young men – are recognising the issue.
“Young people can influence the small things that can lead to big outcomes and this can include calling out their friends and peers when they see inequality, sexism and inappropriate behaviour,” she said.
“My advice to this assembly today is to recognise inequality by thinking of its impact on the women in your lives – your mothers, your sisters, your female friends and classmates.
“Most importantly, call it out – because if we’re not actively working to dismantle it, we’re supporting it.”
Ms Farmer encouraged all Queenslanders to get involved in a local Queensland Women’s Week event, with activities scheduled across the state.
“This week is about empowering and inspiring Queensland women and girls to embrace and celebrate their unique qualities and experiences,” she said.
“Queensland Women’s Week, which is an extension of International Women’s Day on March 8, provides a strong platform for all of us to raise awareness of the causes of inequality.
“We all want a more equal Queensland where everyone is valued and that’s a vision we can all work towards this Queensland Women’s Week as we reflect on and celebrate the diversity of women and girls in our communities,” she said.
For more information about Queensland Women’s Week events and to download or order free resources, visit www.qld.gov.au/womensweek.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Di Farmer