Human Rights Day: Youth as Constructive Agents of Change

Human Rights Day: Youth as Constructive Agents of Change
December 9, 2019 g-oz

This year’s Human Rights Day explores the theme ‘Youth as Constructive Agents of Change.’ Celebrating the 30th Anniversary on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we know the future change-makers our g-oz girls can be.

Girls from Oz invests in girls because we know the flow-on effect it has in the broader community. Studies show that women reinvest 90% of their incomes back into their families, while men only reinvest 30-40%[1].  Moreover, when women’s wages increase, child nutrition, health and education levels also improve[2]. This whole-community perspective is at the heart of the g-oz program. We know that girls living in Carnarvon, Halls Creek and Lockhart River have the potential to make big-scale changes in their community and beyond.

We explore this theme in our mini documentary, ‘These are our Daughters. Future Mothers. Future Leaders.’. Using the performing arts to re-engage girls in school, the g-oz program has had a profound impact on girls’ confidence to dream big, embark on careers they are passionate about, and share the benefits with their family and community.

Following their dreams

While filming this documentary, g-oz Program Director Kylie Lee-Archer and Chair Nicole Muir AM unexpectedly bumped into g-oz ‘alumni’ Lydia Ozies. Lydia now lives in Port Headland, where she has been working as an auto-electrician apprentice for three years. Reflecting on the beginning of her working life, Lydia said the g-oz program was a key part of her transformation from being a shy girl, to a confident young woman:

From singing and dancing to fixing cars. [Girls from Oz] really helped me with my work because I deal with customers all the time. Communicating with other people that I haven’t met before, I didn’t know how to do that before g-oz. Learning to speak my mind as well and just having the confidence to be in front of people and explain what’s going on.

This is the positive impact we see when investing in Indigenous girls and young women. These small scale changes bring a wealth of possibilities. For our current g-oz girls, past participants like Lydia are role models they can look up to. Furthermore, the expansive economic and social change that develops from keeping more girls in school has a ripple effect on their families, and community.

[Left] Lydia during the g-oz Perth Travel Program in 2012. [Right] Lydia with Chair, Nicole Muir AM, and Program Director, Kylie Lee-Archer, in 2019.

We’re proud of the girls involved in the g-oz program who are willing to jump out of their comfort zone and gain the confidence to try new things. Whether the changes girls make are big or small, we know they can be constructive agents of change in their own lives, and in their communities.

 

[1] World Economic Forum, 2014 ‘Why women make the best tech investments’ https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2014/01/women-technology-world-economy/

[2] UN Women, 2012 ‘Facts and Figures’ https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/commission-on-the-status-of-women-2012/facts-and-figures

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