THE Greens’ recently-announced candidate for the Eden-Monaro, Tamara Ryan of Candelo, is ready to push back against sexism in politics.
Identifying as a strong feminist, she said while there were challenges for women to overcome in politics she recognised the added barriers for women of different cultural backgrounds, those in the LGBTQIA community or those with disabilities.
“Seeing politics dominated by affluent, middle aged men limits our perception of what’s possible, so I hope me standing as a candidate can inspire other young women from diverse backgrounds,” Ms Ryan said.
“Societal structures teach us to second guess ourselves before speaking, to undervalue our contributions, to be agreeable over assertive – but those structures need to be challenged.”
The 26-year-old is not her party’s youngest candidate, with at least six members of The Greens aged under 30 standing in NSW at next year’s Federal Election, but she does not see age as an issue.
“[Because] when you see some of the childish behaviour going on in question time you realise age isn’t so much of a factor as much is maturity and sound policy,” she said.
“Seeing politics dominated by affluent, middle aged men limits our perception of what’s possible, so I hope me standing as candidate can inspire other young women from diverse backgrounds.”Tamara Ryan
“Young people are often accused of being disinterested in politics but it’s hard to blame them when their needs seem to be constantly under attack, with continuing privatisation of tertiary education and discussions on reducing weekend penalty rates, for example.”
A passion for social justice drove Ms Ryan into politics, a passion that was heightened when she volunteered in a Palestinian community and refugee camp earlier this year.
“After returning I appreciated what a privileged position I am in to be able to push for better leadership in our community here and decided to nominate,” she said.
A believer in equitable taxation models, one of the main reasons she joined The Greens was because she said the party rallies constituents to reject merging the policies of major parties and over-professionalisation in the Australian political system.
“Growing up in a working class family, I’ve always been incensed by the polarisation of wealth between the workers and big business, who prosper at our expense,” Ms Ryan said.
“That model seems increasingly bipartisan and after having the privilege to attend university where I studied politics and humanities, then law, I realised the system doesn’t have to be this way.”
She has roots in country NSW but grew up in the Sutherland Shire and is enjoying the move to the Bega Valley.
Ms Ryan relocated to the region when her law firm needed someone to work in their Bega branch for three months, but she loved the lifestyle, people and town of Candelo so much that she decided to make the move permanent.
“One of the best decisions by far!” she said.