Advocate, Activist, Speaker, Writer
The World Economic Forum is where powerful people in suits go to make important decisions about the future, right?
Yes and no. Gender equality advocate and activist Ashleigh Streeter-Jones is just 26 years old and from a suburb in Canberra. And she’s one of 50 young leaders around the globe selected to attend the recent online event.
One of the main topics discussed was how countries around the world can recover from the pandemic. “Young people have been one of the hardest-hit groups by the crisis and they have been absent from a lot of national decision making,” she said.
“It’s important to look at the perspectives of young people but also allow them to have a seat at the table if we’re on the brink of inheriting these issues.
“There’s also been lots of discussion about climate and sustainability. The response to larger issues like climate change and COVID-19 can’t die with just one generation. Young people need to be brought on board if they want these long-term goals achieved.”
It’s definitely not the last we’ll hear of this dynamo. Ashleigh runs Raise Our Voice Australia, which works with young female and non-binary people from across the country to lead conversations in politics and foreign policy. She’s been named as ACT woman of the year – the youngest ever to achieve the honour and she’s also featured on Forbes’s 30 Under 30 list for the Asia region. She’s even chatted personally about the issues close to her heart with Julia Gillard, one of her idols.
It sounds glamorous, but the life of an advocate and activist is often hard (not to mention often unpaid). So what keeps her going?
“I’ve learnt that advocacy and activism require an incredible amount of resilience, and that not everyone shares your passion or your values.
But most of all, I’ve learnt the power of people as changemakers. The power of passion and determination. When the going gets tough I reflect on this, and I know that we’re going to be okay. The fight for progress is far from over, but it’s these people I’ve met and worked with along the way who give me hope.”
Job: Advocate, Activist, Speaker, Writer