Competition to empower girls

SOUTH-WEST females have the opportunity to connect with women politicians and executives based in Canberra. 

The Country to Canberra initiative aims to empower rural Victorian girls and give them an opportunity to realise their leadership potential has been launched.

Winners of a nationwide essay competition will receive a trip to the nation’s capital to attend an exclusive breakfast with the high-profile female leaders. 

Country to Canberra founder Hannah Wandel acknowledged a 17.1 per cent gender pay gap and said it was clear girls face more barriers to success.

“Just 29 per cent of federal Victorian politicians are women, while the median starting salary for female graduates in Victoria sits at just $49,000 — that’s $3000 less than graduate men,” she said.

“It’s also lower than the national average for women. Victoria is also geographically distant from Canberra, placing a financial burden on rural girls wanting to explore opportunities in their nation’s capital. Country to Canberra gives these students a helping hand.”

Ms Wandel  said the competition aimed to bridge the gap between rural areas and Australia’s capital, connecting girls to inspirational role models and empowering more women to become leaders in their local community. 

More than 100 high schools and colleges in Victoria were being sent information about the essay competition this week.

The prize, which is open to year 11 girls, includes a behind-the-scenes tour of Parliament House and a tour of the National Gallery of Australia.

The grants are awarded to young women with innovative ideas that bring about social change. 

 Information about the program and the essay competition can be found at www.countrytocanberra.com.au

The competition closes on September 12.

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