@ Age 22
Our young human rights champion of the week
Posted 3th April 2020
A project in high school on sweatshops sparked Hannah Southcombe’s interest in getting out there and doing something about human rights.
At 22, Hannah has recently completed her Bachelor’s Degree in International Development. During her studies and still to this day, she volunteers for Oxfam Australia, Plan International Australia, Red Cross Australia and ActionAid Australia.
“Every year I work with teams to organise community events for these organisations. I think the success of these events is due to the growing engagement South Australian young people have in humanitarian issues and this is really exciting to be a part of.”
Working with these organisations led Hannah to focus specifically on women’s rights issues. “I’m an advocate for women’s rights. Looking within your own life, in your own community and internationally it’s obvious women are treated disproportionately to men… we’ve seen it in the past, we see it now, so it’s necessary that we keep fighting in solidarity.”
Noticing a lack of female artists’ representation while also mixing her love of art and advocacy, Hannah joined forces with Laura Gentgall to work on Girl Space. “We use Girl Space as a platform to encourage, showcase and empower female and non-binary artists in South Australian. Giving these artists the opportunity to realise their full potential is something that then empowers the whole community”.
Hannah now works in State Politics as a staffer to a member of the Legislative Council. “I never saw myself getting into politics. Especially not so soon after studying. This experience has given me an opportunity to learn and work on campaigns and legislation that I know is making a difference to women and girls across South Australia. Women’s issues intersect into so many, if not all, areas we work on, whether it be climate change, reproductive rights, poverty or workers’ rights.”
Recently Hannah has been working on a campaign called Don’t Cramp Their Style which hope to make pads and tampons available for young women in SA schools. Period poverty was recently recognised by the Commissioner of Children and Young People as a barrier to girls reaching their full potential at school. “There is so much stigma attached to periods and a lot of people find it difficult to talk about. I hope that this campaign not only gives young women access to the products they need but also de-stigmatises periods.”
As a young person, Hannah described that there are many challenges young people face when advocating for change. “I know that I have sometimes been overlooked or my input hasn’t been valued the same as others. This didn’t discourage me, and I hope it doesn’t discourage any other young people. It is a very exciting time for young people. The School Strikes for Climate is such a great example of how powerful our voices can be. The whole world was captivated.”
Hannah continues to work in solidarity with women to break down barriers imposed by the patriarchy.