What the Young Women’s Council Has Meant to Us

Applications are open to join the 2021 YWCA Young Women’s Council and we’re looking for young women from across Australia who are passionate about gender equality, intersectional feminism and creating a better society.

The Young Women’s Council is an opportunity to meet other like-minded young women, collaborate on intersectional feminist advocacy issues and guide the strategy of a national feminist organisation. It’s also a lot of fun! But why take our word for it – here’s what this year’s Young Women’s Council members had to say:

My time on the Young Women’s Council has truly been a transformative and empowering experience for me. Being able to connect with like-minded people and feeling as though I have a platform and a voice has increased my confidence so much!

Before joining the Young Women’s Council I thought of leadership and advocacy as something I couldn’t necessarily do (especially given how soft spoken I am), at least not in a public or significant way, but now I see both things can be done by anyone at any level. I’ve also learnt so much, especially from the different perspectives and lived experiences of the other members and YWCA staff.  Although I feel definite sadness that this is my last year on the Council, I know I’ll be leaving with networks and friendships that I’ll carry forward into the next chapters of my life.”

My time in the Young Women’s Council has been an amazing, uplifting and powerful journey, and I never truly expected when I applied two years ago to have gotten the vast amount out of it that I did.

Meeting young women like me from different sectors, backgrounds, experiences and lifestyles has not only broadened my knowledge but also expanded my networks as we all support each other and introduce one another to people in our lives that may be able to help one another. I am not only inspired and motivated by my new sisters but proud to know such intelligent, wonderful and resilient women.

Through the Young Women’s Council, I’ve had the chance to learn new skills in areas of governance, government and legislation, discrimination, how to be an ally and disability, just to name a small few. I’ve had a lot of experience in the male-dominated construction sector, so fighting for women’s rights has always been a passion of mine, but I didn’t really have a strong skill base to back me up. The YWCA taught me so many useful skill and shared knowledge on anything I was curious about. The skills alone I received from being in the Young Women’s Council will help shape my future and make me a better person.

I always felt welcomed, respected, listened to and cared for every minute I was in the council – by the other members, the YWCA and the network of powerful women who worked with us. It has been one of the most influential things I have done in my life to date and I am so lucky I took the plunge and applied for the Young Women’s Council.”

Being on the Young Women’s Council not only gives young women from diverse background and all walks of life opportunities and platform for activism, but it also allows us to come together and be surrounded by other young women with the same common goal. The Young Women’s Council members uplift one another, and through storytelling and passion, they take action to create change on issues affecting all women around the world.

“I joined the YWCA Young Women’s Council to learn how to use my voice as an ally advocating for young women’s issues within my community. However, what I gained from my time on the Council was so much more. On meeting my fellow Council Members, I gained a whole new understanding of the “sisterhood” that I’d grown up hearing so much about but was yet to really understand.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a passionate feminist but meeting my fellow Council members and hearing how similar their experiences had been as young women across Australia was incredible. I gained a squad of the most supportive young women who I know I will be in touch with for life as we all navigate our own journeys being women in this big world. Every conversation with this incredibly group is uplifting, encouraging and educational. I have learnt so much about how similar our struggles are even if we’ve had such different experiences. I feel so privileged to have been on the Council and am sad that my time is coming to an end, but I know my journey advocating for women is only just beginning.

I’ve been a member of the Young Women’s Council since 2018 and being a part of this group has really cemented my identity as an intersectional feminist. I’ve noticed that I’m now spotting more examples of institutionalised sexism and am aware of the barriers that are stopping young women from reaching their potential. Being a part of the Council has really made me realise just how deep these issues run, and how much work we still have to do. While my prior ignorance of the enormity of feminist issues may have been bliss (privilege at work), I feel now that I have a responsibility to use this privilege to do what I can to create positive change. Being a part of the Young Women’s Council has also provided me with the language to do this, and to discuss these issues with my family, friends, and even classmates.

Meeting other like-minded, passionate young women has certainly been a highlight. Their enthusiasm and passion are infectious, and I am so proud to be working alongside them on the Young Women’s Council.

As a member of the YWCA’s Young Women’s Council, I’ve loved the opportunity to meet women from all over Australia. It’s been phenomenal getting to engage with young women from all different backgrounds and feel this common goal of feminism shared between us all. As a busy student with various commitments, I’ve often found it hard to know where to begin with my advocacy and how to help with the causes I’m so passionate about, but being on the Young Women’s Council has given me a drive and direction that has left me feeling less paralysed and more empowered in the fight for equality. 

The Young Women’s Council and the opportunities I’ve received through it, such as attending the UN Commission on the Status of Women, has opened my eyes to the variety of ways civil society and NGOs can work to create positive change. When I applied to join the Council, it was important to me to learn and discover how young people can fight for justice in their own communities and the Council has helped me understand the myriad of ways that that is possible. 

Drive the gender equality movement in Australia and join the YWCA Young Women’s Council. To find out more and to apply, visit: ywca.org.au/news/nominate-now-2020-ywca-board-and-young-womens-council/

Take the leap! Give it a go! It might just change your life!

Taylor Perrin
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