First Nations Women and Girls National Summit

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The First Nations Women and Girls National Summit was be held from 9-11 May 2023, with an additional one-day Youth Forum on 8 May 2023. The Summit brought together over 900 First Nations women delegates and non-Indigenous collaborations, for decision-making, innovation and celebration. 

The National Summit is an outcome of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project, led by Commissioner June Oscar AO, in partnership with the National Indigenous Australians Agency. It is the first ever national gathering of its kind. 

Over three days, delegates engaged with inspiring keynotes, panels and workshops, showcasing the innovative approaches and initiatives of First Nations women across key thematic areas: Leadership and Decision-Making; Language, Land, Water & Cultural Rights; Societal Healing and Intergenerational Wellbeing; and Economic Justice & Empowerment. Taken together, the Summit put forward First Nations women-led solutions to some of the most significant challenges faced by First Nations women, communities and all of society. You can read more about the presentations and initiatives showcased in the Summit Program and Showcase Booklet.

Delegates at the Summit also informed the development of the National Framework for Action, and endorsed the establishment of a First Nations Gender Justice Institute—both major outcomes of the Summit. 

Read the Summit ProgramRead the Summit PaperRead the Showcase Booklet

Outcomes and Calls to Action

The Summit provided a once-in-a-generation platform for agreement-making for First Nations women and girls to come together, raise their collective voice, and determine the way ahead. First Nations women have put their calls to action in the Summit Communique and Youth Statement, and are calling on governments to recognise and invest in the mechanisms that will enable their voices to pave the way for a future that all Australians deserve and have a right to. 

Read the CommuniqueRead the Youth Statement

cover of communique and statement

Explore the program & watch recordings of key sessions

Sensing and seeing a system grounded in our wisdom and knowledges

Day one was about being connected, grounding and uniting Summit participants in all our diversity. Together, through connection, commonality can be found of belonging to country, kin, spirit and the ecosystems that interconnect across the continent. Everyone and everything is connected, and together in our connection we can create healthy systems and flourishing societies.

Welcome to Country and Smoking CeremonyPlenary and Opening Address: June Oscar AO and Michelle DeshongPanel: 'Ancestors Lay the Foundations for Tomorrow: what will our legacy be in driving generational gender equality and justice?'Panel: 'What Happens Next? How young voices are paving the way ahead, on their own terms and in their on way'Video Message from Reem Alsalem, United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls

Envisioning what we want and calling it into being

On day two, all Summit participants are asked to look to the future and think about the way forward 
for Wiyi Yani U Thangani and what a movement for First Nations gender justice and equality really 
looks like.

Plenary: Hon Linda Burney MP, Hon Nanai Mahuta MP (NZ), Associate Professor Hannah McGladePanel: 'Building Alliances - what relationships are needed to reach the future we want?'Video Message from the Hon Julie Bishop, Chancellor of the ANUVideo Message from the Hon Julia Gillard, Chair and Founder of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership ANU

How to make change happen and achieve First Nations gender justice

The last day of the Summit is all about innovation and transformative change. Innovation is inherent 
to First Nations cultures and knowledges. The day will consider how First Nations people are the first 
innovators, adapting and responding to changing conditions over tens of thousands of centuries. 

Welcome and Review of Priorities: June Oscar AO and Michelle Deshong, Video Message from Hon Amanda Rishworth MP and Youth Forum Delegate StatementPanel: 'First Matriarchs, First Innovators: How First Nations women's knowledges and practices are the key to a vibrant future for all'Plenary: Dr Jackie Huggins AM and Estelle ClarkeClosing Remarks: June Oscar

Summit Sponsors

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani Project and Summit is funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA). The Summit was also supported by Indigenous Business Australia, Westpac, Telstra, Rio Tinto, The Fred Hollows Foundation, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers Indigenous Consulting, and by media partners SBS & NITV.