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Launch of 'Girls Gotta Know' App.: speech, Hobart



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Speech by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Launch of ‘Girls Gotta Know’ App.

8 April 2013

Location: Hobart

Good morning.

Thank you Susan for your kind introduction.

I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Muwinina people, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present.

I would also like to acknowledge my parliamentary colleagues Senator Carol Brown and Senator Lisa Singh

Thank you all for coming here today, to the launch of this app.

‘Knowledge is power - use it’

It is a valuable resource, clever and functional, and I’m proud to be here as a Tasmanian and as the Minister for the Status of Women.

This is a web based app that anyone can use on a smart phone.

It is also unique in Australia and it’s entirely custom built - with original artwork, design and technical aspects.

I congratulate Susan and her team for coming up with such an innovative project.

Congratulations also to the grade 10 girls from New Norfolk High School for their contributions and feedback during its development.

This initiative is founded in the strong belief that knowledge is power - and women should use it

Target audience

It’s aimed at girls and young women between 14 and 24, who’ll be able to download the app or search for the website to get the relevant information.

I especially like the way it lays out the legal information - in six main categories. Each contains further headings, leading the users to the sections of information relevant to them.

The categories are, again, clever and easy to understand.

There’s Housing and Renting, Employment, Relationships, Money, General - and my favourite - Partying and Trouble.

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Importance of Social media

This app complements the Australian Government’s existing work and is another example of how we can effectively use new technology to assist women.

The Australian Government’s has a targeted strategy to harness social media and new technologies to address violence against women and girls.

Recent months have demonstrated how social media can raise awareness of sexual assault and violence against women.

We’ve seen global outrage over the rape and murder of 23-year old physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh in New Delhi on 16 December last year.

The attack on this young woman prompted thousands, perhaps millions of people across the world, to flock to Twitter, Facebook and What’sApp.

Here in Australia, we saw the rape and murder of Jill Meagher attract thousands of tweets and Facebook posts. This turned into action, with people taking to the streets to protest.

I think these two recent examples show how powerful social media and new technology are for galvanising public action and encouraging change.

Education and knowledge

We also know that social media and new technology can be a very important tool for educating and raising awareness.

The Australian Government has The Line campaign to help prevent violence against women by supporting respectful relationships.

It’s a four-year social marketing campaign aimed at changing violence-supportive attitudes and behaviours.

The campaign presents messages to young Australians aged 12 to 20 years that encourage genuine engagement and discussion around respectful relationships and poor behaviours.

Our research shows it is working to change behaviours.

Girls Gotta Know

Based on these experiences, we’ve seen how important new technology is to raising awareness and promoting knowledge of women’s experiences.

I’m delighted that Women’s Legal Service Tasmania has also seen this potential in the development of the Girls Gotta Know app.

It will provide another way for women to access help and legal advice when they need it.

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Providing young women with the tools and resources to help them know their rights is an important way of empowering young women.

One of the exciting things about this app is that the Women’s Legal Service has already trialled and tested it with some outstanding young women from New Norfolk High School.

We know that the information is relevant because young women have told us that it is.

This is something that I hope many more young Tasmanian women will find a valuable resource.

Conclusion

Smart phones, apps and Facebook are not just about making and contacting friends.

Social media is being used to help share powerful stories, shed light on women’s issues worldwide.

It is playing a large and growing role in providing knowledge and opportunities for women.

In Australia, the Government is a part of that communication revolution.

We are actively using new technology and social media to address violence against women and girls.

We believe that approach is working and I am thrilled to see an innovative organisation like Women’s Legal Service Tasmania make such an original contribution to helping young women in Australia.

Thank you.

ENDS

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