Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2018 Finalists

What Matters 2018 Finalists

2018 What Matters? NSW/ACT Year 7/8 Winner

What Matters for Her



Wenona School, North Sydney


What matters is that

With every breath I take,

She breathes too,

Lying, almost not awake.

I wake up in bed,

She wakes up on the floor.

Do you see the problem?

See that there's more?

She's scared and she's tired

But not because of her;

Because of those who can't

See past the gender blur.

What matters is that

We're people too.

We are not your toys,

You can't fix us with glue.

Our scars are more

Than just skin deep,

We are meant to be free

We're not something to keep.

Told when we're young

Don't trust strange men.

Don't wear those clothes,

Don't go out past ten.

You give them praise

Don't teach them respect,

Don't teach them to ask

For a yes, for consent.

What matters is that

As long as we die

At the hands of those

Born leaders in life

We can still stand up tall

We can lean on each other

To hold when we fall

Us born lower, born mothers.

I can feel her with me,

Her heart beats with mine.

For none of us is safe

Until the moon changes the tide.

She's sold to a man

More than twice her age.

She's a woman, not 62.4

Percent of your wage.

What matters is that

Innocent PEOPLE are dying,

And the only way to stop it

Is to show all girls we're trying.

I say 'people' because

You don't seem to listen.

When it's just about women,

You freeze and you stiffen.

She's not a child bride

Because she wore that top.

She was forced into this contract

And this trade needs to stop.

She wasn't mutilated

Because she trusted men too much.

It wasn't her fault society

Forgot to teach boys not to touch.

What matters is that

I don't want to grow up.

I don't want to be judged

For my face or makeup.

No matter what we do,

We are cursed from day one.

When we win, we don't.

You say we're outdone.

Feminism doesn't exist.

We're not trying to be supreme.

We want to be even,

Want to stand as a team.

'We were all born equal'

Is a plain, stupid lie.

Think you'd control us

And we'd just stand by? 

What matters is that

My sister is here,

And I can't protect her

From the dread or the fear.

I look around at my friends,

Think about our future.

I cry at our losses

From too many abusers.

Underestimated she is,

A rose among thorns.

Told that she's broken,

Told that she's torn.

No-one saw the potential

As they looked in her eyes.

Blind to her beauty,

She gave in to their lies.

For once can she have a happy ending,

Can we break the barrier,

Instead of just bending?

What matters is that

As long as she cries

As long as she runs

As long as she hides

That someone is out there

To fight her battle

To fight for her rights

Show she's not that fragile.

She's strong.

2018 What Matters?Jenna Beck