Eight-year-old Canberran Daliah Lee noticed a trend with Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain boxes: they only showed pictures of boys, despite the fact girls can also do “awesome things”.
On Friday, Kellogg’s announced it would address the discrepancy, saying that as a company it values “diversity and inclusion”, and will update the back-of-pack-imagery to include both men and women in 2019. The statement also noted Daliah’s passion.
Still, Kellogg’s’ was initially uncommitted to making a change at first, telling Daliah when she first wrote to the company (at age 7) that it would forward her feedback to the product development team, and stating they hoped she would, “find other products that you can enjoy”. So Daliah moved to start a petition on charge.org to campaign further. Finally, the Kellogg’s statement saying it would address the gender imbalance came after Fairfax Media contacted the cereal giant during the week.
Daliah’s campaign and commitment to change has since been shared more widely across the media, with her appearing on The Sunday Project with her mother last night, where she listed some of the female athletes she hopes will soon be appearing on Kellogg’s boxes, including Nova Peris, Kathy Freeman, or the WNBL team the Canberra Capitals.
Needless to say, we loved hearing Daliah’s story on Women’s Agenda, and were reminded of nine-year-old Harper Nielsen speaking up for what she believed, in a story that made international headlines in September.
But girls speaking up shouldn’t be a novelty. It’s their absolute right, as freelance writer Julia Baker notes. As such, we wanted to share the below extract from Julia’s recent blog on the issue.
Anyone who knows me will appreciate how passionate I am about children’s rights; specifically, Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This states that every child has the right to have a say in anything that affects them and to have that voice taken into account. This means that adults must take you seriously.
So, imagine how the fire in my belly was ignited when I read about 8-year-old Daliah Lee, who wrote to Kellogg’s to advocate for women being represented on the Nutri Grain cereal packet. Having a generic response was not good enough for Daliah and supported by her parents and school she soon got a more appropriate and individualised reply.
This is such a fantastic example of how a child exercised her rights and stood up for what she believed in. Our families and educators are obviously ensuring that children know what the important issues are, whether it be women’s rights, immigration or the rights of other people.
In September of this year, Harper Nielsen made the news after her refusal to stand for the national anthem earned her a detention. She believed that it is “disrespectful to Indigenous Australians.” In contrast to Daliah, Harper’s story had a trial by social media and even her parents and morals were called into question.
Whilst I love hearing about how children are changing the world and I want to celebrate it, I wonder why it gets such a reaction? Is it because of a perception that children cannot make informed decisions?
Or that 8 and 9-year-olds do not have strong opinions, nor should they talk about them? We should be actively encouraging this with the young people of our world.
Why do we treat children as though changing the world is out of their reach? Surely, we want children to have the confidence to believe that they can so that they do? Isn’t this why we educate children to have confidence and wellbeing?
I hope that both Harper and Daliah can influence their peers so that more children speak out on the concerns of their world.
Perhaps we will hear about children making a difference as part of everyday practice rather than the novelty that it has been.
The above is an edited extract from a piece first published on Julia’s blog, it has been republished her with permission.