OPEN FORUM: The One Woman Project hosted a women's meeting in Kingaroy on Monday night.
OPEN FORUM: The One Woman Project hosted a women's meeting in Kingaroy on Monday night. Tobi Loftus

How are women valued here?

A WOMEN'S forum held in Kingaroy on Monday night will be used to inform future Queensland Government policy on women.

One Woman Project volunteer Sophie Whitecross, who moderated the forum, said she had taken minutes from the meeting which would be passed on to the Office for Women.

"The Office for Women will take concerns into account into the future when planning women's strategy,” Ms Whitecross said.

The forum began with Ms Whitecross asking the group of 20 women who attended how women were valued in South Burnett communities.

"Extremely valued” was the response from one community member, who said women held a number of high roles within the community.

However, attendees soon brought issues about gender inequality into focus.

"One of the main challenges for women seems to be (the lack of services) and getting the word out about what is available,” Ms Whitecross said after the meeting.

"I was shocked to find cat calling isn't an issue here. Where I live it's one of the most pervasive issues on a daily basis.”

Despite this, a number of women mentioned having concerns for their personal safety when walking alone at night.

One woman told the group how she'd phone a friend when walking home just to feel safe.

Ms Whitecross said it was a concern hearing about the lack of access to family planning and sex education in the region, especially regarding healthy relationships.

She said she heard about South Burnett women who were victims of domestic violence not going to police for fear of losing children, threats from partners and because of previous experiences with police.

"Getting out seems to be easier in urban areas,” she said.

"There are more safe places and safe houses.”

The high youth unemployment rate and lack of higher education opportunities were also touched on in the meeting.

One woman told the group she knew several young women in the region who had been asked about their plans on starting a family when applying for jobs.

Ms Whitecross also visited Kingaroy State High School on Tuesday where she spoke with Year 9 and Year 10 students about healthy relationships.

The forum was part of the One Woman Project rural road trip, which will visit Gympie and Hervey Bay.

"The initial idea stemmed from the fact the One Woman Project founder grew up in Gympie and is interested in rural engagement,” Ms Whitecross said.

The One Woman Project is a youth-led, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing education about gender equality.

If this has raised any concerns for you phone DVConnect on 1800811811 or Lifeline on 131114.

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