News and Stories - Advocacy - 24th May 2022

Represent Us

Represent Us

Parliament should be a space young people can aspire to be part of, and a place that brings pride to all Australians. But right now, our nation’s Parliament does not represent the diversity of communities across Australia and 72% of young Australian women do not feel politics is an equal or inclusive space for them.

These are the findings of Represent Us, Plan International Australia’s research report (PDF 500KB) launched in May 2022. Conducted by YouGov, the survey questioned more than 1,000 young women on their views, values and aspirations when it comes to Australian politics.

The report found:

  • more than 90% of young women believe Parliament should reflect the diversity of Australia.
  • 60% of young women said they would be more likely to pursue a career in politics if it was more diverse and 82% said there should be diversity targets to ensure that women and people across all ethnicities are being represented.
  • almost half of those surveyed would not want to pursue a career in politics because they think they would be discriminated against for being female.

Following the past year’s spate of reports of sexual misconduct, alleged rape, and women being victim-blamed, talked over and side-lined in our national parliament, girls and young women are being sent a clear message – that they will not be safe in parliament and that little is being done about it.

This is a systemic issue, and regardless of party or preference, many women and gender-diverse people are being forced to abandon their leadership aspirations because of it.

Ensuring girls have the same opportunities as boys, in every sphere of society and in every part of the world is central to the work of Plan International Australia, and advocating for these rights is how we can achieve long-term systemic change.

For the past couple of months, we’ve been asking supporters to stand with young people, and amplify their recommendations. More than 400 people have joined them, emailing decision makers, urging them to set targets to ensure our Parliament reflects the diversity of the country we live in and to adopt the full, transformative suite of recommendations outlined in the Set the Standard report.

Young women and gender diverse people should grow up believing anything is possible – that they have opportunities in their lives to shape the world they live in. Over the coming months our Youth Activists will be meeting with decisionmakers to further discuss their recommendations for a safer and more inclusive Parliament, where everyone has a seat at the table.

Bringing our seats to the table

Young people deserve a place in our nation’s Parliament, and on 9 May 2022 in Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens, they brought their literal seats to the literal table.

On 15 chairs representing the 151 seats in the House of Representatives, our 2022 Youth Activists painted images, symbols and words about what better representation in Parliament would mean for our communities. They were joined by local artists and our ambassadors Jamila Rizvi and Yasmin Poole, as they called on leaders across the political spectrum to transform Parliament into an inclusive and safe arena for all.

One of Plan's YAS paints a chair
Plan International Youth Activist, Iremide, painting a chair at our May 2022 media event

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