Bond University student Marryum Kahloon has been selected as the sole Australian delegate to the G(irls)20 Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, where she will assist in developing recommendations to be presented to the 2015 G20 Leaders’ Summit.
Modelled after, and held annually in the same country as, the G20 Leaders’ Summit, the G(irls)20 Summit focuses on addressing the role girls and women play in building strong and innovative economies worldwide.
Marryum, 21, will travel to Istanbul, Turkey, in October to join with 27 other delegates from around the world to develop a communiqué that focuses on female workforce participation, for consideration by the G20 Leaders.
Currently in her final year of a law and international relations degree at Bond University, Marryum is an active advocate for better access to education for women and girls worldwide, and is a former UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador and Parliamentary delegate for Plan Australia.
"Bringing women into the workforce to economically empower them is a crucial step with far-reaching implications that extend beyond just improving global GDP growth. For example, there are links between reduced rates of domestic violence and economically empowered women as they no longer face financial insecurity tying them to abusive relationships," said Marryum.
"The 2014 G20 Brisbane Communiqué made a commitment to reduce the gender gap in the workplace by 2025 by 25 per cent, bringing more than 100 million additional women into the workforce.
"This year, one of our aims in the G(irls)20 Summit is to focus on ways that workplace participation for women can be increased across the globe."
From an Australian perspective, Marryum said her focus at the G(irls)20 Summit is twofold.
"Firstly, I believe the issue of affordable childcare needs to be raised. In the current Australian system childcare is too expensive, so women are finding it cheaper not to return to work after starting a family," she said.
"Secondly, I plan to discuss how we can encourage more women to participate in politics in order to develop policies that better represent the interests of women, who account for 50 per cent of our population, in the political arena.
"A major survey commissioned by Plan Australia in 2014 found that young women are turning their back on a life in politics due to an overwhelming perception of growing sexism in Australia, and fewer than one per cent of the young women surveyed dreamt of a career in politics.
"This is a concerning trend that needs to be addressed."
Clinical Associate Professor Kathy Atkins, Associate Dean at Bond's Faculty of Law, said Marryum's hard-working approach and outstanding achievements were to be commended.
"Bond University is extremely proud of Marryum's success in being selected as the Australian delegate to the G(irls)20 Summit in 2015," Professor Atkins said.
"I am certain she will be an exceptional representative of both Australia and Bond University."