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What These Young Women Think Will Make You Feel Hopeful

Young people get bad press. If you trust social and mainstream media, you’re led to believe they’re too busy on their phones and taking selfies to contribute to any meaningful discussion.  It’s not true. I’m excited about this generation. They are socially aware, and they are contributing to the discussions that affect all of us.

These statements all come from teen girls at Santa Maria College in Western Australia. I asked them what they hope for, want and demand from the future.  The selection of responses here powerfully articulates the confidence, dreams and frustrations of many young women today.


I don’t want to be told I can’t be a leader because I might get too emotional

I am going to be successful in a STEM industry and not just because people want more women in science

I don’t want to be told that I need a man to protect me


I can’t wait until a girl’s right to say yes doesn’t bring her shame

I don’t want to feel guilty for saying no


I want my sister to grow up in a world where she doesn’t have to claw her way to a place at a table given freely to men

I want to wear my favourite outfit in public without worrying about the message I’m sending

I love that some women powerfully represent others


I feel empowered when women are recognised in the media

I am pleased that Hollywood isn’t turning a blind eye this time

I want to feel safe when I’m travelling alone on public transport

Nowhere in the kitchen does it say that this space is exclusively for women

I’m not a cat, don’t catcall me!

I wish society didn’t underestimate a woman’s capacity to achieve great things


Getting my period is natural. Get over it.

I want to stop women feeling that they don’t matter

I am no one’s property


I’m sick of men feeling intimidated by strong women

It’s ridiculous that there is still a pay gap

I don’t want to only feel beautiful because a man says I am


I will celebrate when women are paid the same as men for the same job

I want to walk down the street and not need to look for a safe escape

I feel empowered when magazines use untouched photos


I will not be objectified, I will be known for my individuality

I want people to know I can survive without a boyfriend

I hope one day I can be seen as strong, focused and intelligent – not just pretty


I’m irritated that boys feel free to call my classes easier than theirs because I’m at an all-girls school

I would like my parents to ask my brothers to do the cooking for once

I’d like to see more females in power…and respected in those positions

I don’t want to feel embarrassed that I have some muscle definition

I love that universities are looking specifically for women to study engineering courses

I wish that boys understood that putting a money value on a girl’s name and posting it on Instagram is not okay. It actually hurts


I will celebrate when the Church allows women to be priests

The word ‘no’ doesn’t mean, ‘I’m playing hard to get’. Surprisingly, it means no!

I am not a princess


I am irritated by female characters in films and books who are insipid or overly sexualised

My gender isn’t a limitation

Let’s celebrate amazing women in our lives rather than trying to cut down those who achieve


I’m pleased that I can stand in front of the mirror and call myself beautiful

I am not ashamed of my flaws, I embrace them

I don’t ever want to see women being body shamed


I want to end up in a relationship where I am physically and emotionally safe


I am brave, confident, beautiful, smart and…did I say confident!

I don’t want to be put down anymore

Sanitary products should not be subject to GST

I don’t like it when only mum and I do the house work

It irritates me when boys say, “Go do your girl things”

I’m pleased that I get to choose my own path in life

I’m sick of the abuse and possession of women being romanticised in books and film


I am not weak

I love seeing women supporting women

I’m angered by the fact that women have to be careful that their drinks aren’t spiked when we go out


I want boys to stop objectifying girls and choosing us like we are toys

I feel empowered when I play sport in an all-girl team

I’m pleased that we celebrate International Women’s Day


I don’t like that people think a woman’s role is to have children, especially when biologically I know I can’t

I can’t wait to pursue a career I’m passionate about

I hate it when people misunderstand the meaning of feminism


Don’t ever tell me that gender equality only exists in a perfect world, as if it’s unattainable

I feel empowered when women have a voice and they speak the truth from their heart


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