Page 4497 - Week 12 - Thursday, 26 October 2017

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That is from one of those who have put their hand up. And that is the sort of feedback that the syndicate is getting. The silent majority has been watching and they do not like what they see. It is my understanding that paperwork has been completed now to register the syndicate. Tania and Lesley tell me that Nugget should be on his way to Canberra by the end of next week. Good job, Canberra.

Plan Australia #GirlsTakeover

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.45): I would also like to talk about the International Day of the Girl Child and the takeover of the ACT Legislative Assembly that occurred on 11 October. Five young women took over, attending various meetings and learning from their assigned MLAs. Yes I was one of the people who had the fortunate foresight to ask if my young woman would like to take over speech writing, and she did, which was great. It was absolutely fantastic to see the Greens, the Labor Party and the Liberal Party all take women into their offices. This reflects our strong tripartisan commitment to gender equity, which is also evident from the fifty-fifty representation of women and men in the Legislative Assembly itself.

Bronte McHenry was the young woman who took over my office for the day. Aside from the fact that she has written this speech, our day consisted of various meetings and discussions about the findings of the Dream Gap report which Plan International released to coincide with the day. This report investigated girls’ experiences of inequality, their ambitions and their views of gender stereo types.

Of the 1,745 girls aged 10 to 17 who participated in the survey, almost all—98 per cent—said they receive unequal treatment to boys. Almost all—93 per cent—said it would be easier to get ahead in life if they were not judged on their appearance. Perhaps most worryingly, the report showed that as girls get older their confidence decreased dramatically. While 56 per cent of girls view themselves as confident at 10, only 27 per cent do when they reach adulthood.

In addition to the three recommendations outlined in the report which are intended to tackle the gender inequity referenced by the 98 per cent of girls who participated, Bronte and I discussed a proposal of hers which related to the Australian curriculum. Currently there are three cross-curriculum priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia, and sustainability. These priorities were identified as crucial if the Australian curriculum is to be relevant to the lives of students and addresses the contemporary issues they face.

Bronte and I discussed the possibility of a fourth priority: a gender priority. This priority, like the other three, would comprise three key concepts. The first key concept would be to explore the history of the women’s movement and the current state of girls’ and women’s rights around the world. The second key concept could explore gender as a concept, unpacking it and presenting it as a social construct. Gender would be shown as useful, especially for identifying inequality, but by no means a determining factor of success. The third key concept could be aimed at building the capabilities for thinking and acting in ways that are necessary to create a more

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