Our Lady of Mercy Parramatta Assistant Head Girl
16 years of age
Future change maker
Kyah has a voice and is not afraid to use it. Especially when it comes to gender discrimination and rights. She has spent time volunteering through Duke of Edinburgh, has compassion for those less fortunate and is a definite one to watch in the years to come.
- It’s ok to be average
- Life is a holistic experience, not a compartmentalised one
- Toxic masculinity and a patriarchal society is a danger to gender equality
We live in a society where you feel the pressure to have to be the best all the time, and to have your life decided. I really want to promote that it's okay to be average, you don't have to be the best at everything, you shouldn't be putting that pressure on yourself to constantly be the best, constantly be acing every test, to be friends with everyone, be the most popular.
I would like to create an environment within the school where we promote a holistic approach to health, because it's important to recognize that we can't solely focus on our academics, or sports, or music. We really need to promote that mental health is important, your friendships and your relationships are important.
Little actions are really significant in making a difference in the world. Smiling at someone on the street, smiling first, instead of back at people, that's just a simple way of brightening someone's day.
World leaders need to focus more on discrimination on the basis of gender, because I think there's a vast misunderstanding of what gender is. It is described by the World Health Organization as a social construct. In our westernized world we’ve only accepted the binary notion of gender.
So you have your femininity and your masculinity, but it is a patriarchal society if we are only accepting that. And that is only a westernized notion, that's not accepted in other parts of the world. And it is enabling the detrimental actions of toxic masculinity and shallow feminine identities. It's enabling actions such as catcalling, because “boys will be boys” or promoting the idea of the damsel in distress. That's something that we definitely need to call out because it's not acceptable.
Why if a boy decides to grow his hair long or wear a dress, is he suddenly gay? Or if I decided to cut my hair short, am I a lesbian or going through a breakup? Every challenge to those stereotypes in our toxic society, why are we shutting them down? Why are we putting such a negative spin on every challenge to those stereotypes when they are so detrimental? And I think that is something that our leaders definitely need to call out for us to be able to move forward into the future. It's not acceptable.
We've also seen the Black Lives Matter movement and we've seen police brutality, so we've definitely seen discrimination on the basis of race. We have seen a lot of people calling out discrimination on the basis of sexuality as well, given we do live in a world very dominated by religions, trying to perpetuate their message. Which does have a positive effect, but we need to remember that everyone does have their dignity, and human rights are not political. The Pope the other day said that there needs to be the civil union laws for the LGBTQ+ community.
I would just ask our Prime Minister to listen to what we (youth) have to say because I think that there are also many issues in our world, especially in regards to discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexuality and so on. And just listening to what we have to say to combat those issues and in regards to climate change as well, because if you involve us in the process of change and moving forward now then when we are getting older and moving into those positions of leadership, we'll already be part of the change, and we'll be able to move forward even more.
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