Hobart community development worker Sharifah Emalia Al-Gadrie has been selected from more than 100 applicants across the country to be a voice for gender equality and empowerment on the YWCA Australia Young Women’s Council.

Ms Al-Gadrie, 28, will travel to Sydney this weekend where the 18-member Young Women’s Council will meet for its annual forum to discuss key advocacy issues.

“One of the biggest issues in Tasmania that we are facing is the housing crisis,” Ms Al-Gadrie said. “High demand for rental properties and low incomes mean many people struggle to find somewhere safe they can comfortably afford to live.

“It is something that can more severely disadvantage women, particularly young women or women who are new to Australia because quite often they are in lower paid or less secure jobs, which makes them more vulnerable to the housing crisis.”

Ms Al-Gadrie, a project officer for not-for-profit social justice organisation, A Fairer World, hopes to build the YWCA movement in Tasmania to give women a place to voice issues. They also seek to break down barriers and to provide support for young women and girls who may be facing gender-based violence, homelessness or other issues.

 “The Young Women’s Council is an opportunity to learn as much as I can about how other members advocate for women in their community and see what I can bring back to my community, here in Hobart,” she said. The Young Women’s Council brings together young women under the age of 30 from a variety of backgrounds, to advise YWCA on issues that affect their generation.

 She said she her work had given her an awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion, and that Tasmania could do better in this area. “It (lack of inclusion) can have a tremendous negative impact on someone’s sense of belonging,” she explained. She encouraged Tasmanians to reach out and remember that even small gestures like a smile and an acknowledgement can make a difference.

The 2019 YWC