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Young First Nations women to raise their voices at historic forum

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

150 young First Nations women will gather in Canberra tomorrow to help set an agenda for change in relation to the rights, health, safety, wellbeing and prosperity of young Indigenous women and girls.   

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) Youth Forum is a precursor to the landmark Wiyi Yani U Thangani National Summit (May 9 – 11), Australia’s most significant gathering ever of First Nations women which will be attended by over 900 women from across Australia (90% First Nations women). The 150 young First Nations women attending the Forum will also attend the Summit.  

Taking place at the National Convention Centre Canberra on Ngunnawal and Ngambri country, both the Forum and the Summit are designed to help First Nations women and girls reshape many of the policies and programs which impact on their lives and the lives of their families and communities. Wiyi Yani U Thangani (wee YAH-knee you TUNG-gah-knee) means ‘women’s voices’ in the Bunuba language from Western Australia’s Kimberley region.  

Delivered by the Australian Human Rights Commission, the 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 girls. The Summit is the climax of the five-year Wiyi Yani U Thangani systemic change project led by the Commission’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO. Leading First Nations women’s rights advocate Michelle Deshong is co-hosting the Summit. 

Presented in partnership with Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG), the Youth Forum provides a platform for Summit delegates between 18 and 30 years of age to prepare for the Summit as well as share their perspectives, ideas and experiences across a range of issues which can then be canvassed more collectively during the Summit. Forum participants will deliver a Youth Statement at the end of Summit outlining the kind of change they want to see happen to benefit young Indigenous women and girls.      

Commissioner Oscar said: “These young women are the next generation of First Nations female leaders. Indeed, many of them are already providing vital leadership across their communities and countries. 

“Around half of all First Nations people are under 25 years of age so it’s very important that we engage productively and respectfully with our young people and ensure their voices are heard and acted on.  

“Our young women are valuable agents of change and are key to championing innovative solutions to accelerate action towards gender equality. 

“Their participation in the Forum and the Summit is greatly appreciated and I thank them for attending this historic event and for their contributions to the outcomes of the Summit.” 

Media Contact: Media are invited and encouraged to cover the Forum and the Summit which promise to provide many leads for compelling stories and articles. REGISTER NOW