Sitting outside North Lakes Library talking about becoming a doctor, you would never think The Lakes College year 12 student Sophie Khatib has a strong understanding of gender inequality.
But the Lakes College year 12 student does and says it is important for women to pave their own way and choose a career, rather than being allowed to do it by men.
“Women are often recognised as a nurse, but a woman can do any job she wants,” Sophie says. “I have the incentive to keep moving forward and find my place in society that isn’t defined by my gender.”
Sophie is one of four girls who are the inaugural recipients of the BPW North Lakes education bursary awards, which were presented last week.
Grace Lutheran College Rothwell year 11 student Harper Hatchman, Mt Maria College year 10 student Kasey Conway, YMCA Vocational College year 11 student Skye Watkins-Mepoom and Ms Khatib each received $500 towards their studies.
BPW North Lakes Bursary Co-ordinator Jeanette Fornier said the club was passionate about girls’ education and wanted to start a legacy fund which would help take the financial pressure off and inspire girls to keep moving forward.
“Dedicated, community spirited and hard working are some of the attributes of these girls and we are confident they will continue to be leaders in the future,” Jeanette said.
“Our bursary also aligns with the UN Sustainable Development goal 4 - Quality Education, which BPW clubs around Australia and the world are committed to working towards.”
Harper Hatchman has set her sights on being an entrepreneur and a business teacher taking the lead from her mum who owns her own hairdressing business.
“Business really interests me and I would like to be a teacher focusing on legal studies, accounting and business studies,” she says.
“I also enjoy cooking and hospitality and think opening a cafe of my own would be a good combination of the two. My mum is a big influence and I can see from her experience what can be achieved.”
Kasey Conway also has an entrepreneurial heart and would like to start a fashion label dedicated to making trendy plus-size clothes.
“There isn’t a lot of trendy plus-size clothes labels out there and I think it would be really good to work on this project,” she says. “I also love music, it’s a passion of mine so I might do something with that as well.”
The bursary has allowed the girls to dream and reflect on their achievements and be proud of their accomplishments.
Skye Watkins-Mepoom didn’t know she was a recipient until told by one of her teachers who helped her prepare the bursary application.
“I would like to put the money towards a new laptop so I can do an online course. I would like to work with rare and exotic animals and one day work at a zoo,” she says.
BPW North Lakes also established a business bursary with Sunshine Coast University, Moreton Bay Campus. The annual recipient will be awarded $1000 towards their education.
USC first year business and commerce student Elizabeth Bromage was thrilled to be the first recipient will use the funds to buy a new laptop and textbooks.
“Once I finish my degree, I would like to become a general manager so that I can start to change the culture of workplaces,” she says.
“I was recently discriminated against because of my gender at my former workplace and I want to make sure that type of behaviour becomes a thing of the past.”
BPW North Lakes raised the educational bursary funds by selling sausages and a drink at Bunnings barbecues.