University of Melbourne students join committee addressing gender-based issues facing their generation

L-R: Maggie Blanden; Noemie Huttner-Koros (photo credit: Simon Fitzpatrick); Jasmine Davis.

University of Melbourne students Maggie Blanden, Noemie Huttner-Koros and Jasmine Davis will join a group of young leaders addressing the most pressing gender-based issues facing their generation as part of The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership’s Global Youth Committee.

Maggie, Noemie and Jasmine will join 17 inspirational change-makers from Australia and the Asia Pacific on the Global Youth Committee.

The Committee has been established by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL), led by former Prime Minister of Australia and University of Melbourne alum Julia Gillard AC. It is based at Australian National University (ANU) and will be chaired by leading youth advocate Chanel Contos, whose landmark petition started a vital national conversation on sexual consent and education.

The committee will act as a platform for engaged young people to share their ideas and advocate for change.

“Culture, policies and laws that are being made now will be lived out by young people of Australia, so they are integral to how we shape the future of this country,” Ms Contos said.

“I am so excited to see what this unbelievably impressive group of people achieve with this new platform, and what they take from it to their existing roles of leadership and social change.”

Through the Committee, GIWL aims to empower young leaders to advocate for the change they want to see and shape the future direction of its research, policy and engagement – bridging the gap between the experiences of young people and the policies which will dictate their lives.

Maggie Blanden, a final-year Juris Doctor candidate and Indigenous Law and Justice Hub research assistant, said of the appointment: “I am thrilled by the opportunity to work alongside the intricate narratives that each individual brings to the collective tapestry of the GIWL Youth Committee.

“With every stride we take, every idea we ignite, I am invigorated by the empowering possibilities that lie ahead. I know my ancestors and Elders are smiling down on the work we are collaboratively and so passionately doing.”

Maggie is a proud Palawa woman from Lutruwita/Tasmania and an advocate and change-maker in the space of Indigenous self-determination, sovereignty land rights and criminal justice reform.

Noemie Huttner-Koros is a second-year Master of Theatre (Dramaturgy) student, performance-maker, writer, dramaturg and community organiser, whose artistic practice engages with sites and histories where queer culture and ecological crises occur.

Noemie said:  “As young people, we are facing a deeply uncertain and precarious present and future, which can feel scary and overwhelming.

“I know that when we come together, build solidarity, connect and share knowledge and resources, we can build a better future for us all.”

Jasmine Davis, a final year Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health student, born, raised and working in regional Victoria, is driven by her passion to reduce health inequities faced by those living in rural and remote areas, and as it intersects with gender and sexuality.

On the appointment, Jasmine said: “It’s a privilege to be part of this committee of inspiring young people who are all passionate about equity and change.

“I am excited to learn from the other committee members, and share my experiences of being a woman in leadership, so that we can continue to break down barriers for women and gender diverse people around the world.”

GIWL Chair Julia Gillard said: “This Committee embodies a new generation of compassionate leaders who are already doing incredible work to make real change in their communities.

“Young people are best placed to address the world’s greatest challenges, and with the diverse talent and experiences of this group, I am excited to see what they’ll be able to achieve working together towards a more inclusive and sustainable future”.