Skip to main content


Commission celebrates official launch of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Institute

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
Content type: Media Release
Topic(s): Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO has launched a dedicated Institute to elevate the voices and solutions of First Nations women and girls – the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Institute for First Nations gender justice.

The Australian-first Institute, housed at the Australian National University (ANU) on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country, ensures the continuation of Commissioner Oscar’s groundbreaking systemic change ‘Women’s Voices’ project. 

The Institute takes a First Nations gender lens to pivotal issues ranging from housing and education to environmental conservation and economic engagement. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO said: “The Institute is the first of its kind in Australia. No other dedicated space like this exists for First Nations women and girls and gender diverse mob, where they determine the collaborations and the research approaches, on their own terms.”

Launched yesterday, the Institute and Wiyi Yani U Thangani Change Agenda, are a combined Blakprint’ for transformation, showing how change on the ground has the potential to guide national and international agendas.

June Oscar AO: “The Institute is the vehicle for governments to act on the findings of the multi-year systemic change Wiyi Yani U Thangani project. It will work to overcome disadvantage in First Nations communities through developing holistic partnership processes.”

“It is a space to unite with multidisciplinary stakeholders to develop, design and implement initiatives that drive systemic change. These initiatives will target the root causes of issues, such as intersectional discriminations and financial insecurity to progressively improve the health, wellbeing and safety of First Nations women and girls, their families and communities.

“Wiyi Yani U Thangani shows that women are the backbone of our communities, with lived experiences and knowledges which are vital to resolving deeply entrenched socio-economic issues and structural discriminations for generations to come.

“Our women are the custodians of vital wisdom in sustaining life, and are the cornerstone of our communities; nurturing children, families, kin, and Country.

“I give my deepest thanks to the Hon Julie Bishop, Chancellor of the ANU and Professor Genevieve Bell, Vice-Chancellor and President of the ANU, for their incredible support of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Institute for First Nations gender justice.”

The Honourable Julia Gillard, AC, Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership: “The women’s movement has not always been inclusive of all women.

“We want to leave that past behind and to have a present-day feminism and women’s movement that understands intersectionality, that embraces all voices. 

“For too long First Nations Australians and particularly women have been required to tolerate the decision making of others when their voices haven’t been heard and haven’t been included. The institute is there to help us change that for the future and that will make everything we want to do for gender equality more effective.”

The Hon Linda Burney MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians: "The Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project was truly ground-breaking, allowing the voices of more than 2,300 First Nations women and girls to finally be heard. The Institute will continue to listen to and champion the voices of First Nations women and girls. It will harness their aspirations and strengths to design initiatives that deliver lasting change.”

The Institute and Change Agenda build on the significant evidence of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) Project, running since 2017. It began with a yearlong engagement process where over 2,000 First Nations women and girls raised the needs, strengths and aspirations of First Nations peoples and communities.

The multi-stage project continues to make visible First Nations women and girls' rights and lives, and puts forward a First Nations gender-lens across all aspects of life, including housing, education, safety, and health and wellbeing.

Media contact: or 0448 939 997