My Forum experience as a participant

This year, on International Women’s Day, Woodside High School hosted a Future Youth School forum in partnership with Oxfam. Future Youth School forums are structured events led and organised by students, which allow them to explore issues, collaborate and share ideas for action. Our forum was led by Year 10 students part of our school’s Oxfam Youth Ambassador group.

As a participant, I was easily able to discuss and converse with my peers and other students from the Duke’s of Aldridge School; because we were all passionate about the topic, it clearly came through the activities that we completed during the day. The Future Youth Schools Forum was well worth taking part in, on International Women’s Day.

During the forums project, we completed an issue tree (the causes of the issues regarding gender equality and possible solutions), an emotion and feelings human body and we also had the chance to plan our gender equality campaign on 50/50 gender representation in parliament. Working with different programs like the forums project; engaging with other students gave us a different perspective of the topic considering the opinions that we had already developed on our own experiences.

As the forums project was student led, it was informal so we didn’t feel restricted in what we had to say but more comfortable in expressing our thoughts. Being understood is a key part in being confident to speak out and our student leaders did a great job in listening and commenting on our opinions.

For other young people taking part in the forum, I think it is important to believe in yourself and trust yourself to speak out because at the end of the day, what you have to say is just as important as what someone who is very knowledgeable and confident in what they have to say.