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Landmark project for First Nations women and girls receives $2.8 million in federal funding

Aboriginal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice

The Federal Government has announced $2.8 million funding for the Australian Human Rights Commission’s landmark Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project that will see it through to a national summit for First Nations women and girls, the first of its kind in Australia.  

The announcement came after Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt and Minister for Women Marise Payne spoke at the launch of Yajilarra nhingi, mindija warrma (from dreams, let's make it reality), a new animated film which tells the story of First Nations women’s voices.   

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO welcomed the funding, saying it would lead to powerful changes for First Nations women and girls. 

“It’s fantastic the government has responded to our calls to fund this incredible project, which will see the development of a national summit and action framework to enable First Nations women and girl-led solutions and initiatives. I know we can work collaboratively to ensure First Nations women and girls finally enjoy true equality in this country,” Commissioner Oscar said.  

The animation launch also featured a panel discussion with leading First Nations women advocates including Commissioner Oscar, Professor Marcia Langton AO, Fiona Cornforth, Teela Reid and Charlee-Sue Frail. 

They all stressed the urgent need for this additional funding as part of a package of sweeping changes to embed gender equity across the country, which would also include gender equality in First Nations appointments and free universal childcare. 

“There should be no excuses anymore for appointments made to boards or any governing body without considering gender equity,” said Professor Marcia Langton AO. 

“All of our boards or governing bodies should have an equal number of men and women.

“Our voices have been largely ignored, but the issues of violence, incarceration and the removal of children necessitate urgent action. 

“I’ve spent half my life waiting for change on these issues – I don’t want to wait anymore.” 

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) report, which was based on the most extensive engagements with First Nations women as a collective since 1986, provides hundreds of women and girl-led initiatives and ideas for enhancing health and wellbeing that can simultaneously overcome entrenched discrimination, racism, and sexism that First Nations women and girls face. 

“The Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) report is a blueprint for change to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women across the country,” said Commissioner Oscar. 

“For too long, our women and girls have been silenced, ignored, and kept out of policy decisions – our report flips this notion, centering the voices and giving First Nations women and girls agency in their lives.” 

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) report can be accessed from the Commission’s website here, and the animation, Yajilarra nhingi, mindija warrma (from dreams, let's make it reality) can be viewed here.