The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO has spent the past week in Brisbane, Logan and Mt Isa meeting with Indigenous women and girls as a part of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) Project.
Commissioner Oscar began her Queensland visit speaking at the Women of the World festival in Brisbane, which brought together women from more than 20 countries to discuss gender equality, social justice, diversity and more.
At the event, Commissioner Oscar met with more than 60 women to focus on the issues, strengths and lived realities of Indigenous women and girls.
“It was wonderful to see such a great turn out at WOW, where women and girls gave voice to their own challenges and aspirations for change.
“Through this project, our women are grabbing the opportunity to be heard and to put their issues and their voices at the forefront”, Commissioner Oscar said.
“Our women are speaking truth to their experiences and there is a deep need for reflection on the fact that our women hold so much strength and cultural knowledge.
The Wiyi Yani U Thangani project is designed to identify key challenges and priorities facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls and help influence government policies.
“It’s coming through loud and clear that our women are the experts in their own lives and that there is a deep need to listen and act with their voices in mind. We must not dismiss the strength and resolve that lies within even some of the most vulnerable in our communities,” she said.
Commissioner Oscar said that this was an important consideration given the over-representation of children in care and the alarmingly increased rates of incarceration amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
In acknowledging the work of Indigenous women right across the country, Commissioner Oscar paid particular tribute to the efforts of women working in the Queensland organisations she visited - such as the Murrigunyah Family and Cultural Healing Centre, Aunty Dolly’s Murri Court Women’s Group and Sisters Inside.
“I have met some remarkable women doing important work everyday in communities, supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families.
“Every day I am listening to our women talk about how they are achieving extraordinary acts and tackling complex challenges. I’m also hearing about what they are doing to celebrate and support their communities.
“We must continue to harness these strengths in order to bring balance to the narrative of deficit,” Commissioner Oscar said.
The Wiyi Yani U Thangani project will visit more than 30 communities across the country. Commissioner Oscar and her team have already visited South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. To find out more about the project, including the submission process please visit; https://wiyiyaniuthangani.humanrights.gov.au