Meet the Leaders of Our Young Women's Council!

Harpreet Dhillon, aged 19, is a proud Punjabi Australian from Sydney NSW. Due to lived experiences, empathy and passion for the wellbeing and equal human rights of others, she holds a strong interest and commitment to gender equality, youth empowerment and preventing discrimination. Advocacy and volunteer work with organisations include: Girl Guides NSW & ACT as Sydney’s Representative on Girl Guides NSW & ACT Girls Advisory Panel in 2016; New South Wales Council of Social Services (NCOSS) Young Women’s Advisory Panel since 2016; Elected as a representative for NCOSS and an Australian Civil Society Delegate at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 61 (2017) and CSW62 (2018) and, since 2017, member of Settlement Services International’s Youth Collective. Inspired by what she gained from the experiences, began public speaking, including keynote speaker at SSI’s Employment, Education, English Youth Forum and guest speaker at Harmony Alliance’s Migrant and Refugee Women for Change NSW State Launch. A paradigm breaker, first female in her whole family to finish school and go to university. A survivor of family violence and sexual assault. A feminist.

What attracted you to applying for the position on YWC?

"I’ve always believed in the need for there to be intergenerational dialogue, especially when it comes to decisions being made for young people. We’re the decision makers of the future and should start learning from these processes now and note what has worked and what should not be repeated. I am interested in being a part of a council filled with an array of talented and diverse women sharing common experiences though feminism and the sisterhood of YWCA. This, combined with the focus on the welfare and empowerment of women attracted me to apply for the position."

What's one key issue affecting young women in Australia that you feel particularly strongly about?

"I’m very passionate about the issue of gender-based violence in Australia and the access to support for survivors. The reality of how many women in Australia are affected by this issue, though the possible barriers of family honour, finance, fear of societal construct, toxic masculinity and stigma preventing reporting or seeking help is continuously increasing, which frightens me. Though the violence act itself is detrimental, it doesn’t compare to the psychological inner scars. There are so many ways this issue affects all of us – safety of young women is continuously at threat due to the unknown violence they may face in public or with someone they deem close to – through any statistic, there is at least one person we know or have seen who’s experienced gender-based violence."

Who is your feminist hero?

"Eleanor Roosevelt a complete, absolute, baddass powerhouse feminist, who has inspired me greatly. Against all odds and barriers, she fought and stood so strongly in what she believed in. Aided and cared for the country's poor, stood against racial discrimination, greatly involved with public service, helped in both world wars, and was the driving force to the creation and continued existence of the Universal declaration of human rights."

Taylor Perrin is 25 year old women from Queanbeyan NSW who has spent her life surrounded by trade. After running large commercial joinery teams and learning to use CNC technology Taylor became qualified in 2017 and moved into a commercial estimating and project management role, furthering her study with business, management, construction and leadership. Taylor won NAWIC Australian Tradeswomen of the Year in 2018, as well as being a keynote speaker at the 2018 YWCA Canberra She Leads High Conference. She is the youngest female in a leadership role in a 60+ person company, mostly consisting of male tradesmen.

What attracted you to applying for the position on YWC?

"It came to my attention after some introductions at networking events put some amazing women in my corner. I got a few emails about the opportunity and decided it would be something I would love to be a part of and help grow. To be voted into the council as well as voted into a leadership role is such an amazing opportunity."

What's one key issue affecting young women in Australia that you feel particularly strongly about?

"Something very close to my heart! I am very passionate about women in trade and construction. Being a qualified tradeswoman has been such an amazing journey for me and I would love to get more women into the industry. To get paid while training on the job is a wonderful way to begin a career. To finish your training with a ticket that can be used all over Australia and the world to get work and make a difference is a very comforting feeling for any young woman who has the world at her feet and endless opportunities in this world to chase. The more women we can inspire to go into Australian construction and trade and become strong leaders, dedicated learners and skilled tradeswomen the better our future will be."

Who is your feminist hero?

"Most definitely Joan of Arc. A young woman with a fire in her belly and a goal convinced a crown prince to let her lead an army into battle with no military training at the age of 18. Not only did she win the battle, but she has been a symbol for centuries of unity, pride, strength and the ideal that any women no matter the age or profession can be a leader and can be heard above the noise."