Date: 
Monday 11 March 2019

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO has attended International Women's Day events in Darwin and Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory.

“It is great to keep the conversations rolling about the importance of our women and girls, and in particular to recognise how much our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls contribute to society.

“These events are an opportunity to celebrate our sisterhood. To affirm what it is to be women in Australia, including all our young women and girls, in all our incredible diversity,” Commissioner Oscar said.

Commissioner Oscar provided an update about the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project which has heard from thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls around the country, for the first time in more than 30 years.

The Federal Government has recently announced funding for Stage Two, which will put women’s voices are front and centre of policy planning, design and implementation.

“You would all know the outcome of our absence in decision-making. When I was working on the ground in Fitzroy Crossing, I called it policy perpetration.

“The truth is when we leave our women out, policy can cause generational damage on the ground. This is the reality of gender inequality. The exclusion of women from decision-making spaces – which is the exclusion of half our society and half our knowledge base – impacts everyone.

“We know that by listening to women we can design and implement exciting initiatives. We can learn to replicate women’s strengths within programs to grow resilience and open the space for enabling environments that support our women and girls to be all that they can be.

“Across Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls are defying the deficit narrative. In speaking their truth, they are saying: I am not your stereotype. I am not a sensationalist headline. I am not your negative media story. They are saying This is me, and I am strong and powerful in being all of who I am.

“In my role I am committed to making This me, This us, all of who we are, count. All our women and girls need to know this: Your voice matters, you have a right to your voice, and I hear you.

“Together we can make governments accountable to our needs and aspirations, so we can build the societal structures that recognise us for all of who we are,” Commissioner Oscar said.

 

Photo: Rachel Blundell, June Oscar AO, Brittany Kettle, Linda Murray, Siena Stubbs at Nhulunbuy IWD function