A squad of 18 young women from around set to ‘take over” parliament house tomorrow, when they step into the seat of an MP for the day, carrying out one concrete decision, presenting a report on gender equality in politics and potentially speaking to parliament. They are also looking to pass a motion to recreate the position of Minister for Youth. (left) Ashleigh Streeter and Caitlin Figueiredo. Photo by Karleen Minney.Caitlin??? Figueiredo??? still remembers the first time she told her class she wanted to be Prime Minister of . Her teacher told her to sit down; she was a girl and girls needed “more realistic” dreams.
Now 22, the Canberra law student runs her own social enterprise, helps oversee n projects for the UN and sits on various boards and charities. Last year, she was named a Global Changemaker by Michelle Obama at the White House.
On Wednesday, Ms Figueiredo joined forces with 16 other local girls who share her ambitions for high office in a “takeover” of Parliament House.
“We’re here to send a message, we are powerful,” Ms Figueiredo said, as the team gathered on the lawns of the House Wednesday morning.
The young women, aged between 17 and 30, each hijacked the seat of a federal MP, as part of a global “takeover” in parliaments and boardrooms across the world to celebrate International Day of the Girl.
In , women hold less than a third of all seats in parliament, and fewer than a quarter of ministerial portfolios.
New research from Plan International, which organised the takeover, shows half of young n women see their gender as their biggest barrier to becoming leaders.
The charity surveyed more than 1700 girls aged 10-17 and 530 men and women between 18 and 25 years of age about their views on gender equality and politics as well as their aspirations.
While two thirds of 15-17 year old girls aspired to be leaders, by the age of 22-25, less than half of women shared those goals compared to 60 per cent of men the same age.
Ms Figueiredo spearheaded Wednesday’s action, along with Ashleigh Streeter, 23, to close the “dream gap” for n girls and demand a gender balance in parliament. The pair said it was more than a token photo opportunity, and each woman carried out at least one concrete decision by the day’s end on behalf of their MP, as well as helping to write speeches, draft motions and raise questions in Question Time. After stopping by the party rooms of Labor and the Greens, the team presented Plan International’s newly released ‘She Can Lead’ reportto the Prime Minister and sat down with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
So where would they start if they were in the top job?
“I’d ban sexist advertising and commentary in the media,” said 18-year-old Asha Clementi, who stepped into the shoes of Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie for the day.
According to Plan’s report, most young women agree, with fewer than one in four women believing men and women were treated equally by the media and 82 per cent saying more attention was placed on their looks than men’s. #girlstakeoverpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/rZPIHRAVeR??? Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) October 18, 2017Spoke today about gender pay gap, #GirlsTakeOver Parliament & women in leadership. Which leading n women do you most admire? pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/8OhlWIPWyR??? Andrew Leigh (@ALeighMP) October 18, 2017A report by @Plan showed a gap b/w what girls aspire to + the opportunities available to them. Let’s change that. #GirlsTakeoverpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/6eoiw2nQ67??? Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) October 17, 2017