The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO has just finished a series of meetings with women and girls in the Kimberley region of Western Australia for the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project.
Commissioner Oscar and her team met with women and girls in Broome, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Warmun (Turkey Creek) and Kununurra to hear about their strengths, challenges and aspirations for change.
“It was truly humbling and inspiring to be with strong black women in the Kimberley region.
“Through this project, we are creating a space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls to celebrate their achievements and their resilience and to discuss the way forward on the issues they’re dealing with on a daily basis,” she said.
Commissioner Oscar said the voices of women and girls will be included in a report to the government, which is expected to be delivered by July 2019.
“Right now, policy designers and the machinery of government are so far removed from the lived experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls. We want our report on this project to guide government about what needs to be done, to give women and girls equality of life in this country.
“Women across the Kimberley shared experiences of extreme racism. They have told me about their desire to be included in decisions about policies and programs. They want to be the drivers of their own destinies. Women and girls also want real job opportunities in their communities and better access to health services and housing.
“We won’t be able to fix every problem, but we will be able to take the voices of women and girls and make them heard by parliament, because we all have a right to live the lives we want to live.
Commissioner Oscar is heading to Geneva this week for the 38th regular session of the Human Rights Council.
She said voices of women and girls in the Kimberley and those of other women and girls she’s met around the country since the project began in February, will be on the forefront of her mind.
For more information about the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women's Voices) project, including details about how to make a submission, please visit wiyiyaniuthangani.humanrights.gov.au