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Commission opens registrations for landmark summit of First Nations women

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
Content type: Media Release
Published:

Registrations for the most significant national gathering of First Nations women from Countries across Australia have opened. This historic event is set to inform a range of new approaches for advancing the rights, health, safety, wellbeing and economic opportunities of First Nations women and girls.

Delivered by the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) National Summit will be held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra on Ngunnawal and Ngambri country from 9 – 11 May 2023, with a Youth Forum preceding the Summit on 8 May 2023.

Wiyi Yani U Thangani, means ‘women’s voices’ in the Bunuba language from Western Australia’s Kimberley region. The national summit is designed for First Nations women to speak on their own terms to government, policymakers and service providers about addressing issues affecting First Nations women and children.

With over 650 delegates expected to attend from across the continent, the Summit will showcase innovative approaches and initiatives led by First Nations women, and will feature three days of engaging discussion, workshops and presentations across a variety of topics. Key thematic areas include self-determination, societal healing, intergenerational wellbeing, economic justice and empowerment. There will also be a range of networking events and activities.

Both supported and paid registrations are available. A number of sponsored delegates will be supported with registration and travel to attend the event. The purpose of sponsoring delegates is to ensure a broad range of First Nations women from across regional, rural, remote and urban Australia can participate in the Summit and have their voices heard. Applications for delegate sponsorship must be received by 5pm AEDT on Wednesday 29 March. Applications can be made on the event site.

You can access more information about the program here.

Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO said: “Coming at a pivotal time as Australia lays a pathway for Voice, Treaty and Truth, this Summit is the first time that First Nations women from right across Australia will come together in such large numbers to determine how we can take control of our future and deliver safety, justice and prosperity for our families and communities”.

“The Summit is the culmination of years of community consultation and engagement through the Commission’s ground-breaking Wiyi Yani U Thangani project and I encourage First Nations women and our allies to get involved and help shape the key outcome of the project – the Wiyi Yani U Thangani National Plan for First Nations Gender Justice.”

Federal Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney said: “Advancing the rights, health, safety and wellbeing of First Nations women and girls is vital to closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia. The Wiyi Yani U Thangani project is making a substantial contribution to this aim and I’m looking forward to participating in the Summit.”

Author and historian Dr Jackie Huggins AM said: “First Nations women hold the key to helping our children thrive, to keeping our communities cohesive, and to constructing cultures of care, safety and wellbeing. The opportunity for hundreds of First Nations women to gather, connect and have their voices heard, is vital to achieving effective, authentic and lasting solutions to a range of issues affecting First Nations communities.”   

Lawyer and academic Dr Hannah McGlade said: “As mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties and cousins, First Nations women are uniquely placed to understand how to work within First Nations families and communities to improve health, economic and social outcomes. But most of us have been ignored and excluded by the systems which are supposed to help us. The Wiyi Yani U Thangani Summit will put our voices front and centre, and help us create a better future for First Nations people and communities.”       

Leader of the Kimberley Empowered Young Leaders Tonii Skeen said: “We must invest in the knowledges and solutions of First Nations women and especially our young people, if we are to bring about a more inclusive and caring world. Wiyi Yani U Thangani Summit and Youth Forum will play an important part in bringing together the voices that will deliver the change that we all need.”

Media contact: media@humanrights.gov.au

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani Project is funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency and sponsored by Westpac Banking Corporation, Telstra Corporation Limited, Rio Tinto Limited, and the Fred Hollows Foundation.