Family inspires country girl to make a difference
WHEN thinking of inspiring female leaders, name such as Julia Gillard, Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey might spring to mind.
Kate Perrett has another name at the top of her list: Helen Golding.
It's not a name many will instantly recognise, but it's one that inspires Kate to make a difference in the world.
"My biological grandmother, Helen Golding, was involved in the closure of a prison," Kate, who is in Year 11 at Nanango State High School, said.
Katingal, at Long Bay Correctional Centre in NSW, was opened in 1975 as the country's first modern, purpose-built extreme maximum security prison.
It was designed to house terrorists as well as problematic prisoners and has been described as as "electronic zoo" because of its electronically controlled confinement.
Kate says she is inspired by her grandmother's involvement in closing the controversial facility, as well as similar efforts from her adoptive grandmother and mother.
"I'm fortunate enough to have been surrounded by many inspirational women," Kate said.
"I get really inspired by the women in my life who were around when things were tougher for women, but they didn't step down."
These amazing women have inspired Kate to make a difference in the world around her in whatever way she can.
Recently elected Nanango State High School captain for 2019, Kate said she was committed to addressing bullying and inequality in the school.
"That's not something I tolerate," she said.
The next step in Kate's leadership journey will begin later this month, when she heads to the nation's capital as part of the Country to Canberra trip, on November 24.
"I'm going with 18 other girls from across Australia," she said.
"I get to go to public speaking training and leadership training, I'll meet agricultural senators and MPs and maybe even the Prime Minister."
Kate believes it is of the highest importance to support and encourage more women into leadership positions.
"Did you know there are more male bosses named Andrew in Australia than there are female bosses?" she said.
"I think it's really important for more women to get recognition, because there really is no difference."
Having grown up in the South Burnett, Kate said she had seen instances of sexism and misogyny throughout her life.
She questions why phrases such as "you throw like a girl" are used as insults, and why women in the country are denied opportunities their city counterparts have access to.
This is why she is excited to represent her community in Canberra.
"We have less access to things than women in the city do," Kate said.
"It's putting women out there and proving that we're capable of many things that men are capable of."
While she still has a year of high school left to go, Kate has her eyes set on a very meaningful career goal.
"I would like to go to uni and study a dual degree in justice and psychology," she said.
"I want to get more involved in our country's criminal justice system and work with improving the mental health of those who have been released from prison and who are in prison."
She is especially passionate about mental health issues as she has seen the toll it has taken on those around her.
"Growing up in a rural community, I've seen a lot of the effect it can have on people mentally, and it can get tough sometimes," Kate said.