About us

About Wiyi Yani U Thangani

Our vision is for First Nations gender justice and equality in Australia. Led by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO, Wiyi Yani U Thangani elevates the voices of First Nations women and girls, knowing that they hold the solutions to drive transformative change. 

Wiyi Yani U Thangani provides the evidence that the inequalities experienced by First Nations women and girls are perpetuated and entrenched by mainstream systems and structures that have marginalised the voices of women and girls for generations. First Nations women and girls are clear: we need large-scale structural change to create a world where the unique cultural, social, economic and political rights and interests of First Nations women and girls are realised. We need First Nations gender justice and equality.

Message from the Commissioner

Dear friends,

I am the first Aboriginal woman appointed to the role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

It is my role to raise awareness of the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to provide guidance to Government on how to promote and protect these rights.

Fighting for the rights of the most vulnerable people in our communities, including our women and children, have been at the core of my advocacy and remains a core focus of my role.

It has been over 30 years since the findings from national consultations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were published in a report called, ‘Women’s Business’, the first time that the views of First Nations women were directly sought by the Commonwealth Government.

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women's Voices) project continues this important work, elevating the voices of First Nations women and girls to the spaces of decision-making, because what they know matters informing meaningful and effective policy and legislation. Their knowledge matters, every day, to ensuring the health and wellbeing of our children, families and communities.

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices): Securing Our Rights, Securing Our Future Report is the culmination of the most extensive nationwide engagement with First Nations women and girls as a collective. It is an extensive whole-of-life report , providing a necessary First Nations gender lens across all aspects of life from community safety to education, culture, housing and economic development. 

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani Report and the work carried out since, lays an indisputable foundation of evidence that First Nations women have remarkable strengths derived from their diverse lived experiences and cultures and Laws. It tells us what we’ve known for a long time—First Nations women are key to holding society together, to healing, reducing harms and violence, and guaranteeing social cohesion and healthy environments for everyone. Despite this, women and girls’ voices are not being effectively incorporated into the policies and mainstream structures which govern their lives and the lives of those in communities.

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani Project is about changing that—working together with First Nations women, communities, and non-Indigenous collaborators to build the mechanism to guarantee First Nations women and girls are not excluded or left behind, and that women’s knowledges and lived experiences are central to making the decisions and policies that impact their lives. 

I strongly encourage all Australians—Indigenous and non-Indigenous—to read this report and learn more about the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Project. Listen to the voices of our First Nations women and girls, and come on this journey with us to achieve First Nations gender justice and equality.

Thank you.   
June Oscar AO 

Our Journey

Stage One of the Project involved national engagements with over 2,000 First Nations women and girls in 50 locations around the country in 2018 and culminated in the production of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Report which was tabled in the federal Parliament in December 2020. 

This landmark Report—which represents the first time since the 1986 Women’s Business Report that First Nations women’s have been gathered and presented at the national level—provides a First Nation’s gender lens across all areas of life.

The Report calls for seven overarching recommendations to guarantee that First Nations women and girls’ voices are at the centre of decision-making. This includes the delivery of a National First Nations Women and Girls Summit, the development of a National Framework for Action, and the establishment of an advisory body now to be the First Nations Gender Justice Institute, so we can start to fundamentally shift the ways in which we operate for the better, and the solutions in Wiyi Yani U Thangani can be responded to and implemented over the long-term. Stages Two and Three have been focused on progressing these recommendations. 

About the Report Community Guide 

Stage Two focused on socialising the findings of the Report and beginning the process of implementation of its recommendations. In addition to engaging with all governments, Commissioner Oscar and her team held a series of roundtables to inform the development of the Implementation Framework. Drawing on the evidence-base of the Report, the Implementation Framework puts forward the priorities, actions and structural changes that underpin the systems change work that First Nations women and girls are calling for. You can read more about the Implementation Framework here.

Read the Implementation Framework Read the Dialogue Paper

The outcomes of the third and final stage of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Project include the development of an independent National Framework for Action on First Nations Gender Justice and Equality, and the establishment of a First Nations Gender Justice Institute. In building towards these outcomes, the Project delivered the first ever national gathering for First Nations women, the Wiyi Yani U Thangani National Summit held in May 2023. 

 Summit National FrameworkInstitute

The artwork

the artwork

Red dust rises, Brolga dances - a new dawn begins.              
We follow in the footsteps of those who have come before us,              
their path guides our way.              
Country challenges, landscape transforms, rock emerges,              
sky disappears, stars are revealed.              
Water springs forth the journey continues - knowledge is shared river flows - freshwater turns to salt.              
Woven leaf binds us, we are connected, we are one.              
This gathering place is sacred - Our business, Our way, we are stronger together as we determine our futures.

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women's Voices) artwork depicts the journey of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women and Girls and their rights to security and success.

The leadership roles that those who have come before us have played in the past and the roles that women and girls continue to play today and aspire to in the future. Within their families, their communities, the nation and the world.

Pathways leading in from the top of the artwork depict the journeys of the women and girls who have come before us - overcoming many challenges. Moving towards the centre the four smaller circular motifs represent both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women and Girls who are effecting change today. The cross-hatching brings both culture and generations together.

The blue wavey lines that connect them represent the knowledge of the past and knowledge of the present coming together - knowledge from both freshwater and saltwater country. The white connected circles represent our support networks.

The smaller circles that surround the central circle are meeting places that represent different locations throughout the country where discussions are held, knowledge exchanged, and changes are made. The central circle represents these discussions and changes, the pathways that flow out towards the bottom of the artwork represent the continuing journey and the knowledge of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls and how they are determining their futures together. The flowers represent these ideas growing and blossoming for future generations to be guided by and benefit from.

The project artwork has been developed by Elaine Chambers in collaboration with We Are 27 Creative.

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