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We march for a future that is equal

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On 20 January 2019, people from across the Canberra community came together to join the Women’s March Canberra Women’s Wave and call for gender equality for all people.

Joining the global movement, Canberrans united to show their support for equal opportunity, safety and a better world.

These movements are particularly important for young people.  Not only are we more connected today than ever before, but these actions allow us to shape the world we want to live in, a world we want to feel safe in.

Dhani Gilbert, our Young Canberra Citizen of the Year and ACT NAIDOC Youth of the Year 2018, spoke with passion and conviction as a young, proud First Nations woman

“I ask that in our fearless pursuit of a safer and more inclusive community we do not turn a blind eye to the fact that historic and contemporary structural inequalities remain an intertwined part of First Nations Women’s experiences; of poorer outcomes and the unacceptably high rates in which we are impacted by violence.

Dhani Gilbert

I cannot accept that it should be a continuing reality that, here in Canberra, young First Nations women are more likely to be impacted by poverty and violence than obtain a tertiary entrance score to access University.

As a community, we have the power to change this, through cultural and structural changes that end the acceptance of violence, racism and the injustice of inequality.”

Clare Moore, CEO of Women with Disabilities ACT, shared their experience of speaking at the event.

“I spoke at the march because I wanted to draw attention to the way social isolation maintains a cycle of invisible abuse against women, girls, non-binary and feminine identifying people with disability. The statistics included in my speech were confronting and many people told me afterwards that they were brought near to tears by them – to them I say, you can take action to change this story. You can start by joining disability advocates in calling for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disabilities and you can follow that by making personal and organisational commitments to greater inclusion every day.”

Clare Moore

Tanvi Nangrani from Young Women Speak Out told us why she marches:

“Last year, Young Women Speak Out attended the Legislative Assembly and presented our reasoning on why the legal definition of consent in the ACT should be changed to positive consent. Affirmative consent is positive visual and verbal cues that indicate both parties agree to what is taking place.

If I want young women’s voices to be heard, I can’t just wait around for someone else to speak on my behalf. I am going to share my perspective, raise my voice, be that at the Legislative Assembly, parliament or at Garema Place. I march because I want to see progress.”

The experiences of Dhani, Clare and Tanvi highlight the complex, multi-dimensional structure of inequality. And this is why we march.

We march to call for a better world for everyone: for First Nations people, persons with a disability, persons who identify as non-binary/intersex or trans, people who are culturally and linguistically diverse, persons from migrant or refugee backgrounds, persons from our LGBTQI community. We need a better world for all.

Author Ashleigh Streeter

We cannot move forward if any group is left behind; as we stand, too many people are being left behind.

As young people, we can be the trailblazers. We can both raise and use our voices to call for that better standard. We can challenge the status quo and examine new ways to do things.

The Women’s Wave is just the beginning. We’re unstoppable when we move forward together.

Images: Hilary Wardhaugh

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