Activists not actors

Noosa – Tuesday 28 November 2023

Noosa Shire Councillor Karen Finzel has called on women and men to continue working together to advocate for gender equity and the prevention of violence.

“In terms of local government representation, Noosa has made progress towards balanced representation with the election of three women at the last election,” Cr Finzel said. “But we can’t let progress in one area breed complacency – we all need to keep working for fair representation and treatment.That women and men who take responsibility for their actions and champion change for the next generation.”

Cr Finzel’s comments coincide with the 16 Days of Activism, themed in 2023 as ‘UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls’. “Preventing violence also means tackling other aggressions that often fly under the radar but are part of the same set of issues,” Cr Finzel said. “That includes creating safe, productive workplaces and eliminating abuses of power, as well as inappropriate or aggressive interactions.”

In 2021, Cr Finzel was among a group who started the Women’s Collaborative Network Noosa, which brings women together and provides an inclusive, collaborative space to share experiences and work together for change.

Cr Finzel (centre-left) wants to support more women into leadership, including through the Women’s Collaborative Network Noosa.

A frequent topic of discussion among the network’s members has been the opportunities and challenges for women to step into leadership. Recent research from Victoria has indicated that women elected to local governments are twice as likely to not contest the next election due to bullying and hostility. Cr Finzel said that these issues need to be looked at closely to encourage a new generation of women to engage in politics.

“We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that issues surrounding gender don’t exist,” she continued. “Turning up to public events is one aspect of making change, but the hard work occurs in the way we interact with each other day-to-day. We need activists and allies – not actors – to prevent violence against women and gender discrimination.”

The views expressed here are Karen Finzel’s and do not necessarily represent those of Noosa Shire Council.

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