Mia Pafumi, the 2019 Youth Member for Bundaberg, has expressed her thoughts on equality and gender stereotypes on a blog aimed at sharing the passionate opinions of Australia’s young people.
Titled ‘Our social inequity‘, the 16-year-old St Luke’s student discusses how gender expectations within society are pressuring people, specifically youth, to be something other than their true selves.
“Today, societal expectations are dominating our lives, shaping our perceptions of the world and influencing our career choices and personal characteristics,” Mia wrote.
“From day one, we are raised in a world pervaded by gender stereotypes that frame what we wear, what we say, how we act and who we love.
“Gender expectations broadcast loud and clear the need for perfect cookie-cutter body types for both boys and girls, and tell us what sports to play and what mannerisms to possess.
“For generations, they have unfairly pressured women to be docile and conform to the lower socioeconomic roles of society, and have raised men to exhibit power and strength in all situations and subdue their emotions.”
Your Voice Heard written by young people
Mia's opinion piece was published on the Your Voice Heard blog, which reports a diverse range of opinions that young people are passionate about.
From legislative reform for domestic violence, stigma pertaining to mental health or the inclusion of regional Australians; the forum is a smorgasbord of topics.
The aim of the blog is to give youth a voice on a range of subjects that matter to them.
Mia said she chose to write about gender stereotypes within the blog due to the experiences of her school mates.
“Looking at kids my age, there is so much pressure to conform to what is expected,” she said.
“For example, girls are worried about working out too much in case their legs get too big, in case they might not be feminine enough.”
Mia said she believed the pressure felt by today's youth to conform to a certain stereotype was due to a few factors.
“A lot of it is because of media and social media as well as the stereotypes which have been passed down from generation to generation,” she said.
“People are suffering because they cannot be themselves.
“If you can't be yourself, who are you supposed to be?”
2019 Youth Member Mia Pafumi visits Parliament
Mia is currently attending the YMCA Youth Parliament camp's residential sitting week, which brings all Youth Members together in Brisbane at Parliament House.
As a member of the Education, Employment and Training committee Mia will join her team to debate their Youth Bills, deliver personal statements and gain insight into the work done by the state’s lawmakers.
Various social activities are also organised to ensure a fun, challenging and memorable week for everyone.
It's not the first time Mia has taken her knowledge and insight to government.
As part of her Youth Member role, Mia Pafumi sat in on a Council meeting earlier this year where she also got the opportunity to meet one on one with Mayor Jack Dempsey.
Mayor Dempsey said Youth Parliament was a terrific way to engage young people in public life.
“It's great to see a passionate and enthusiastic Youth Parliament representative from Bundaberg,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Our region has seen many great Youth Parliamentarians over the years who have all done a magnificent job.
“We look forward to seeing the outcomes of the education bill that they will be debating.”