To mark International Women's Day this year we are celebrating some of the women who make our College a world-leading institution for legal education and research.
Yasmin Poole is a Bachelor of International Relations/Laws (Hons) student who was recently awarded the 2020 ANU Student Volunteer of the Year (Undergraduate) for her valuable contribution to society as a prominent advocate for youth issues. Yasmin has served as Community Engagement Coordinator in the ACT for the International Committee of the Red Cross, a Youth Ambassador for Plan International Australia, and Chair of the Youth Congress in Victoria.
What inspired you to study law?
A big reason was seeing how law is fundamental to social change. With a long-held interest in politics, I saw how legislation affects so many facets of our lives – whether we realise it or not. Law has the power to impose burdens or create opportunity, reflect the past or look to the future.
Studying law gave me the toolkit to not only understand what the law is, but also have a deeper understanding of the role it plays in wider society.
What motivates you?
Something that always motivates me is using my background and experiences as a means to give voice to others. I often think back to high school, where for most of it I felt powerless about issues like climate change, job uncertainty and political issues. I felt that I couldn’t speak out about them until I graduated and got a career.
When I realised I didn’t have to wait for this, it was transformative. That feeling of agency is something that I want all young Australians to experience. That in of itself is a driver to why I want to keep creating a wider platform for youth, showing what we can offer and why we should have a seat at the table.
Who is a woman you look up to?
While there are many accomplished women that inspire me, the real answer is my mum. She’s a first-generation migrant, now working as a mental health nurse for those most vulnerable.
I learnt so much just by watching her, particularly being the power of hard work, resilience and carrying yourself with integrity. She continues to work hard to make sure that her children can follow what they’re passionate about, something I’ll never take for granted.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It means two things. Firstly, it’s an acknowledgement we have a long way to go in terms of gender equality. But, more positively, it challenges the gendered status quo and celebrates the work of women around the globe.
As a society, we choose what messages we send to young women. The commitment to eliminating the very real leadership hurdles facing women is, to me, a message we can't emphasise enough.
What positive changes would you like to see made for women in law?
I would love to see more formal mentoring programs supporting women from culturally diverse backgrounds. I’ve loved connecting to the Asian-Australian legal community, who have been a big support in my journey and have helped me understand what I want to achieve with law. I’d love to see these groups be more visible and build greater connections between women of colour in the law
See more Inspiring Women of ANU Law