Governments yet to take action

The recommendations from a landmark report on Australia’s First Nations women and girls from 2020 have yet to be realised.

Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices): Securing Our Rights, Securing Our Future called for a national action plan, advisory body, and targets and benchmarks for Australia’s First Nations women and girls to lead in all areas of life.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar said at the launch it was not a report for the shelves; it’s a call to action”.

It’s a strengths-based message for all Australians to see, to hear, to learn of the remarkable resilience and capabilities of our women and girls, who have the solutions but lack a seat at the table.”

The Australian Human Rights Commission report states that the success of the recommendations would depend on governments entering into genuine partnerships that would hold governments to account and upholding the right for First Nations women and girls to speak in a representative capacity.

The report builds on the legacy of the 1986 Women’s Business Report, the previous and fi rst time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were consulted nationally.

While educational attainment has increased, Aboriginal women and girls report higher rates of depression and anxiety, life expectancy is nearly eight years shorter than the rest of the female population and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls are 21 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous women.

Wiyi Yani U Thangani looks beyond the cycles of crisis that have come to characterise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives, and to defi ne women and girls in their own image, determined by them”. The principles underpinning the report methodology are that First Nations women and girls have the right to self-determination, participation in decision making, respect for and protection of culture and equality and nondiscrimination. The report recognises their human rights, and notes the violations of those rights are very diff erent to those experienced by Indigenous men and boys.

For the report, more than 2000 First Nations women and girls from hundreds of diff erent ancestral countries shared their stories and identifi ed their strengths, needs and aspirations for the future.

They want systems and services to be preventative, place-based, culturally safe, healingoriented and trauma informed.