Female politicians and executives are flocking to events across Canberra today to welcome the winners of Country to Canberra’s inaugural essay competition and to combat gender inequality.
“Kicking off with an exclusive ‘Powerful Women’s Breakfast,’ the ‘power trip’ to Canberra is an amazing opportunity that brings teenage girls from rural areas to Canberra to empower them to reach their leadership potential,” Country to Canberra founder, Hannah Wandel said.
“ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, Federal Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann, the highest female executive at the Department of Defence Rebecca Skinner and the Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner Stephanie Foster were special attendees at the intimate breakfast event held at Farmers Daughter in Yarralumla,” Ms Wandel said.
“Country to Canberra is a wonderful initiative that gives bright young women opportunities to ask questions and learn from female leaders,” ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said.
Later today, the three competition winners will attend a special lunch at Parliament House, co- sponsored by Assistant Minster for Health Fiona Nash, Senator Anne Ruston, Senator Jan McLucas and Senator Lee Rhiannon.
“A major highlight will be meeting the Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop after Question Time, and gaining leadership tips. The girls will also go on a behind-the-scenes tour of Parliament House,” Ms Wandel said.
“All major political parties threw their support behind Country to Canberra, showing just how important it is to invest in our female leaders of tomorrow.”
The 2014 essay competition winners are Libby O’Brien, 16, from Beaudesert (Queensland), Nullamanna’s Hannah Worsley, 17, and Vesna Clark, 16, from Mittagong (both New South Wales) after submitting entries about gender equality.
Ms Wandel says Country to Canberra aims to bridge the gap between rural areas and Australia’s capital, connect girls to mentors, and motivate more women to become leaders in their local communities.
“Taking into account Australia’s 18.2% gender pay gap, and considering just 30.5% of federal politicians are female,ii it’s clear girls face more barriers to success,” Ms Wandel said.
“Distance, time and funds can also isolate rural females from education and career opportunities. Country to Canberra gives these students a helping hand.”
“As a young woman about to leave school, Country to Canberra’s ‘power trip’ has been incredibly inspiring. The lessons learned will really help me forge a successful career,” 2014 winner, Libby O’Brien said.
Country to Canberra was founded by Hannah Wandel in May 2014 with the assistance of a Great Ydeas Grant from YWCA Canberra. Through its essay competition and ‘power trip,’ Country to Canberra combats unique gender and geographical barriers faced by rural females, while strengthening links between girls and Australia’s political epicentre.
Further information about Country to Canberra can be found at www.countrytocanberra.com.au
(Country to Canberra Media Release)