Shannyl discusses why feminism is important to her, and some ideas for a better future.
What does feminism mean to you as an individual in New Zealand Society?
Shannyl: To me feminism means being a part of the gender of females having equal rights towards freedom of speech and having equality in society alongside males. It’s about being able to fluctuate our voices and prove our capabilities as women. If I was to define feminism in one sentence I would say it is who I am, what I am, and how I am. Feminism is what makes the gender of females what we are and defines our uniqueness. But to me feminism also equally means addressing issues and achieving long terms solutions to such problems whilst creating a world where women are entitled to the same treatment as men.
Is it more than just equality between men and women? What about race or ethnicity?
Shannyl: Feminism is more then just men and women having equality between each other it’s about being able to share opinions together and interactive positively in our society. In my perspective I feel women and men of all ethnicities should have the right to speak their minds and create a platform for each other to stand upon and fight for equality. It’s about forming togetherness between the different races of our world in today’s day and time. I personally feel equality shouldn’t just exist on the basis of gender but we should fairly have equality in the structures of ethnicity and race. So I definitely agree that equality is more then just gender as we see various topics such as racism, sexism, and discrimination are causing a hierarchy to take place - categorizing people into particular demographics so it is necessary to expand our thoughts on feminism to a greater and complex level.
Why is it important to celebrate youth voices in our community?
Shannyl: Due to the voices of our youth being neglected as we are never taken seriously by adults I feel that due the generation I have been brought up in being more broad minded as well as having an open mind towards current crisis’s and issues taking place globally. It is important as the youth of today’s society we utilize our voices positively because we as a whole can enable our future generations to come together and enable change to occur. I also correspondingly feel that being a part of today’s youth in New Zealand we are the ones who can make our future generations feel extensively comfortable in their own skin and not have to change the way they are due to issues such as discrimination and racism existing based on ethnicity or race.
Do you think this can generate more development opportunities for youths and future generations?
Shannyl: Yes I personally consider utilizing the voices we have in society being a part of youth would effectively allow future generations to have opportunities to equally bring change and inclusiveness into society. It would also allow our youth groups to have a subjective to speak upon and significantly create fairness between women and men of all ethic groups. By us creating awareness we will be able to influence and educate children in a variety of different schooling systems as well to create platforms such as Shakti for their students as this will increase consciousness towards issues such as females not receiving equal rights alongside males in today’s society as well as facing sexism. It will also create awareness to linking issues such as discrimination and bullying towards different races.
How do you envision the future if your (youth) voices were more present?
Shannyl: I envision that through the future of our youth and the voices we have been privileged with we will be able to create a society where everyone is treated equally and women are correspondingly given respect alongside men. I also hope to see a change in the way people think towards the gender of females, as I would like to see women being equally acknowledged and thought of as capable as men. This being because I have experienced women being judged or questioned for opportunities such as education which I disapprove of as a female should be allowed to equivalently be rewarded with opportunities in high sufficient employment as well as educationally. So I significantly hope for a change in society’s insight and to change how society currently is which is racially discriminative towards a range of ethnicities.
To find out more about the Youth March this Sunday, check out our Facebook event here.
*More information on these statistics can be found here and here.