Re­port gives women, girls a voice

North West Telegraph - - News - Sy­narah Mur­phy

Abo­rig­i­nal women in some of the State’s most re­mote lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing the Pil­bara, will have their voice heard by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment af­ter a visit by so­cial jus­tice com­mis­sioner June Os­car.

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project, launched last year, called for sub­mis­sions from Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der women and girls, as well as key or­gan­i­sa­tions, to voice their opin­ion on a range of lo­cal is­sues.

As part of the project, Ms Os­car and her team vis­ited more than 40 com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing New­man, Hed­land, Roe­bourne and Kar­ratha, and heard from more than 1800 ladies.

Ms Os­car met with sev­eral New­man stu­dents last week, in­clud­ing Year 11 Al­liyah Newell-Ewan, who was in­spired by the visit.

“It was amaz­ing to hear from the first Abo­rig­i­nal woman to be­come the so­cial jus­tice com­mis­sioner,” she said.

“Her story is re­ally in­spi­ra­tional and makes me think that I too can strive to be the best that I can be.”

Ms Os­car en­cour­aged girls, women and or­gan­i­sa­tions who she could not meet with to send in sub­mis­sions.

“I strongly en­cour­age all Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der women and girls to take part in this im­por­tant project,” she said.

“I am look­ing for­ward to hear­ing what women and girls have to say about their chal­lenges, strengths and hopes for the fu­ture.

“This is an op­por­tu­nity to be part of a na­tional con­ver­sa­tion with Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der women and girls, some­thing that hasn’t hap­pened since the land­mark Women’s Busi­ness re­port of 1986.

“Tell us as much or as lit­tle as you like. Just speak from the heart and speak your truth. Your in­put is crit­i­cal if we’re to pro­duce a re­port that’s true to your lived re­al­i­ties and ac­knowl­edges the strength and re­silience of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der women and girls.”

Com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tions are ex­pected to fin­ish by De­cem­ber, be­fore Ms Os­car’s re­port is de­liv­ered to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment next year.

“My re­port will carry the voices of all the women and girls we’ve met around the coun­try and con­nect their lived re­al­i­ties with gov­ern­ment, law and pol­icy de­ci­sion-mak­ers,” she said.

“It will tell the Gov­ern­ment about what’s im­por­tant to Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der women and girls, what needs chang­ing and what that change should look like.

“It has been a priv­i­lege to meet with such in­spir­ing and strong women in the Pil­bara re­gion and to hear about the is­sues that mat­ter to them.”

Pic­ture: Lindy Kerin

So­cial jus­tice com­mis­sioner June Os­car with Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der women from Port Hed­land.

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