Chanel Contos listed among the BBC’s top 100 influential women

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Greek Australian and founder of the ‘Teach Us Consent’ movement, Chanel Contos, has been listed as one of BBC’s 100 women for 2022

The list of inspiring and influential women from around the world is in its 10th season and was created by BBC to share progress for women’s rights globally. 

Contos was recognised on the list for founding the ‘Teach Us Consent’ movement and actively lobbying for earlier sexual consent education in Australian schools since 2021. 

The Greek Australian is listed among well-known names such as global music phenomenon Billie Eilish, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska, actresses Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Selma Blair, the ‘tsarina of Russian pop’ Alla Pugacheva, Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi, record-breaking triple jump athlete Yulimar Rojas, and Ghanaian author Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah.

Photo: Chanel Contos / The Urban List

The list also includes brave protestors in Iran, women facing conflict in Ukraine and Russia, and female leaders of the “Me Too” movement.

After receiving the news about being listed in BBC 100 Women, Contos wrote on Instagram: “A few minutes after I saw this [BBC list] published, I drove past my old kindergarten teacher holding hands with two little girls wearing the same uniform that I used to [wear] and instantly burst into tears of gratitude.”

“I don’t think 5 year old Chanel would be able to fathom everything that has happened the last two years,” she added in the post.

Contos’ ‘Teach Us Consent’ campaign was founded in 2021 after the activist posted an Instagram story asking her followers if they or someone they knew had been sexually assaulted at school. Over 200 people responded “yes.”  

The Greek Australian was overwhelmed by the response yet not surprised due to her and her friends experiences in private schools in NSW.

Following the Instagram story, Contos launched a petition advocating for holistic consent and sexuality education to be mandated in the Australian school curriculum system. 

The petition resulted in 44,000 signatures and more than 6,700 testimonies of sexual assault which were presented to MP’s around the country by Contos and volunteers supporting the campaign.

On 7 February 2022, Contos announced it was officially agreed by Ministers of Education around Australia to mandate consent sexual education in every school from foundation to year 10.

Preceding being listed on BBC 100 Women, Contos has also won the Young People’s Human Rights Medal in the 2021 Australian Human Rights Awards and a Diana Award for activism in 2022.

The Greek Australian is now focused on educating people and bringing awareness about acts of sexual assault.

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