- ABOUT SAY NO
- AROUND THE WORLD
- THE ISSUE
- TAKE ACTION
by Claire Poyser
I am 19 and in my second year of university studies.
My father is British and my mother is Australian, but having lived in Australia all my life, I can only really think of myself as an Aussie!
I believe I have had a blessed life, having had the opportunity to travel and have a wonderful education. However, there are girls who have not been so lucky, and it is important to do what we can to have their voices heard.
I am studying humanities at Monash University in Melbourne, majoring in international relations and politics, and focusing on women’s rights, injustices towards women, and the experiences of women in peace and conflict situations.
In 2011, I was the Australian delegate to the G(irls)20 Summit, which bought together girls from the G20 countries and a representative from the African Union to discuss the injustices faced by women and girls, and solutions to these problems.
Since then, I have been working hard to share what I learnt at the summit and further highlight the injustices faced by women and girls.
I believe that the Safe World for Women Student Writers Project is the perfect way to do this!
Multiculturalism in My Community
Australia prides itself on being one of the most multicultural countries in the world. Nowhere is this more evident than where I live. In the east of Melbourne: you only need to walk down the street to see the number of different cultures living together.
Australia’s main source countries of immigration are New Zealand, the United Kingdom, China, and India. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2008 5.5 million people, or 26% of our population, were born overseas. This statistic just demonstrates the cultural diversity in Australia.
In Melbourne, it has been wonderful to see different parts of the city take on a unique cultural identity. For example, a suburb called Box Hill just near where I live has become as a ‘Chinatown’ outside of the city because of its wonderful food stores and restaurants.
Victoria Street in Richmond is known as ‘Little Vietnam’ for similar reasons.
Generally within these populations, opportunities for women, such as receiving an education, access to health care and equality within the workforce, are bettered by living in Australia.
There is, however, one community that has been forgotten in all the discussions about multiculturalism, and it is perhaps the most fundamental cultural group in Australia. The indigenous population of Australia – who have inhabited the land for over 40,000 years, and especially the women within this community, have sadly not seen these same benefits of Australian multiculturalism.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the life expectancy within this population is around 16-17 years less than that of the average Australian. The teenage fertility rate is four times higher within this population than overall across Australia. All forms of abuse towards women are far more prevalent in the indigenous population.
Finally, suicide among young females aged between 0 and 24 is five times that of the national suicide rate for females.
It is evident that most women in Australia have seen the benefits of a multicultural Australia, it is important now that we extend these rights and benefits to the first Australians, for the benefit of the indigenous women.
Claire on Twitter: @claire_poyser
Assignment by Claire
Australia: Virginity for Sale