Stepping Up - young women leaders in schools

Each year at Dominic College two Year 9 students are selected to participate in a Parliament House event intended to encourage and inspire our young women to pursue leadership roles in school and in the community, and hopefully engage fully in our representative democracy one day. Year 9 student, Annalize Moase writes about last week's event:

On Wednesday 31 October, Makayla Modrijan and I, with Mr Fulton, attended Parliament House to participate in the “Stepping Up - Young Women in Schools” Student Leadership Event.

After we had been briefed on the day’s agenda our host walked us around Parliament House. In one of the rooms we looked at all of the photos of people who have held roles in parliament and learnt more specifically about the journey women have taken to get roles in parliament and what has been done to fight for women’s equality within politics.

We visited the basement where we learnt about the history of the building and how it was designed. We also went into one of the chambers and our guide informed us about all the specific parts of the chamber, who is and who is not allowed in them at specific times and the meaning of the bells which have been installed to let politicians know when it is their time to vote.

We also took part in different scenarios where we had to play the role of a parliamentarian or a member of the public. This activity taught us how parliamentarians help the public and are confronted by many situations which need resolving.

Just before lunch, we took part in another role play where we acted out how a bill is passed and what occurs in the chamber when a decision is being made. The topic was that students should be banned from using phones at school. Makayla and I were part of the opposition and we both put forward arguments stating that phones can be used in beneficial ways that can improve a student’s learning. Students can use phones as diaries or for videos and photos and as a society we are relying more on technology.

Mrs Elise Archer who is the Minister for Justice, Corrections, Environment and Parks and the Arts came and spoke to us about how she became involved in politics and the struggles she has experienced in achieving her current parliamentary position. She taught us coping strategies to deal with discrimination and how to rise above problems that we may face in our future. Elise has had a lot of experience in politics and she also gave us valuable advice we can use when making future career choices.

After a quick break for lunch we all sat down to hear from an electoral panel about their role in parliament. They were also able to offer us much advice on careers in parliament and the many roads to which politics can lead!

Overall the day was a great learning experience for Makayla and I where we both learnt new leadership techniques and what we can do to contribute to society and raise awareness for charities.

Annalize Moase - Year 9 student