A new committee established by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL) at The Australian National University (ANU) will bring together 17 young leaders to look at the most pressing gender-based issues facing their generation. 

After receiving applications from more than 500 young people from across Australia and the Asia Pacific, GIWL has selected 17 inspirational change-makers from a diverse range of backgrounds to join the Global Youth Committee. 

The Committee will be chaired by leading youth advocate, Chanel Contos, whose landmark petition started a vital national conversation on sexual consent and education. It will act as a platform for engaged young people to share their ideas and advocate for change. 

“Culture, policies and laws that are being made now will be lived out by young people of Australia, so they are integral to how we shape the future of this country,” Ms Contos said. 

“I am so excited to see what this unbelievably impressive group of people achieve with this new platform, and what they take from it to their existing roles of leadership and social change.”  

The Committee members have expertise across a range of issues, from First Nations justice to disability activism. 

“I am thrilled by this opportunity. With every stride we take, every idea we ignite, I am invigorated by the empowering possibilities that lie ahead. I know my ancestors and Elders are smiling down on the work we are collaboratively and so passionately doing,” Youth Committee member Maggie Blanden said. 

Through this Committee, GIWL aims to empower young leaders to advocate for the change they want to see, and shape the future direction of its research, policy and engagement – bridging the gap between the experiences of young people and the policies that will impact their lives. 

“Standing on the brink of social change, it is the values, ideas and perspectives of the young people of Australia that will inform the future of our national identity,” Youth Committee member Clodia Stanislaus said. 

“I am keen to use this opportunity to leverage the voices of multicultural and marginalised groups in my community and across the Asia-Pacific region, in the hopes of diversifying how leadership and governance looks in contemporary Australia.”  

The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership is chaired by Julia Gillard, the only woman to have served as Prime Minister of Australia.  

“This Committee embodies a new generation of compassionate leaders who are already doing incredible work to make real change in their communities,” Ms Gillard said.  

“Young people are best placed to address the world’s greatest challenges, and with the diverse talent and experiences of this group, I am excited to see what they’ll be able to achieve working together towards a more inclusive and sustainable future”. 

GIWL brings together rigorous research, practice and advocacy to make sustainable change towards workplace gender equality and a more gender equal society. 

If you are aged 18-30 and are passionate about gender equality, GIWL invites you to register for their Youth Summit this October in Brisbane. Find out more here. 

Top image: Chanel Contos. Photo: Paul Liddle

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Jess Fagan

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