Q&A with Kate James - Awards for Excellence, Young Achiever Award winner
Banyule’s Kate James is the winner of LGPro’s 2020 Awards for Excellence Young Achiever Award, which is given to person up to 30 years of age working in Local Government who has achieved outstanding results in the sector.
Kate joined the Council seven years ago as a Youth Engagement Officer. She has forged successful relationships at Council and in the field, pioneering work in leading and embedding practices around gender equity; delivering innovative advocacy and wellbeing activities with Australian-Somali young people; and educational programs on body image.
Q: What does the award mean to you?
I am incredibly humbled and privileged to have been given this special award. The other nominees have had outstanding achievements and so to have been recognised alongside them means a great deal to me. Having started my journey in local government almost eight years ago as a student, it feels great to be able to showcase the opportunities within this sector for growth as a young professional.
Q: What does gender equity mean to you?
Gender equity has always been a passion for myself, both personally and professionally. Whilst working with young people, I have seen the impact that gender inequity can have on the wellbeing and health of our community and so I am passionate about the role that Local Government can take in supporting people to discuss the topic, challenge unhelpful norms and redefine stereotypes. Gender inequity is an ingrained systemic issue and so it is vital that we take both strategic and on the ground approaches to overcome.
Q: Tell us a bit about your work in the youth gender equity space?
Around five years ago I worked alongside my team at Banyule Youth Services to implement gender equity work with young people as a key portfolio of the work we do. This work has included the development and implementation of a school-based workshop with young women that discusses how media and social media portrayal of young women can alter self-perception and mental health. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to work with other Council youth teams and external providers to gather momentum about the important role of working with young people in this space. In 2019, I worked with a group of passionate young people to create a publication called ‘Do Not Judge this Book by its Cover’, which includes artwork, photography and written pieces about gender inequity, created by young people. This year, I am fortunate to be working within the Healthy Masculinity space to support young men to challenge gender norms and develop an understanding of how gender stereotypes impact them and others in their community.
The annual LGPro Awards for Excellence recognise and celebrate the outstanding projects and initiatives being delivered by Councils across Victoria. Now in their 16th year, they are the key awards for the Local Government sector. Almost 100 nominations were received across 10 categories this year.
You can read more about Kate's work in the Awards publication below.