IAC Statement on International Women’s Day – Friday, 8 March 2019

IAC Statement on International Women’s Day – Friday, 8 March 2019

Indigenous Affairs Indigenous Advisory Council
Friday, 08 March 2019

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Friday 8 March 2019 marks the 108th International Women’s Day. The Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council (the Council) celebrates the outstanding contributions and achievements made by Indigenous women in Australia and around the globe.

From the community, local, state and national levels, Indigenous women continue to strive to make a difference to the lives of many. They are our mothers, our elders, our grandmothers, our aunties, our sisters, and our daughters. Through their voice, their passion and their achievements, Indigenous women are empowering the lives of those in their communities and have paved the way for generations to come.

We proudly recognise the incredible Indigenous women that continue to empower and inspire Indigenous women and girls through leadership, advocacy, strength and courage.

We celebrate International Women’s Day once a year, however on the remaining 364 days of the year, we must continue to encourage and support our Indigenous women and girls, and ensure that we foster and actively model an environment that values the contribution of Indigenous women across the globe. Last year’s NAIDOC theme was ‘Because of her we can’. This theme recognised the significant role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played, and continue to play, in their communities and throughout Australia.

Over the past few years, we have seen the appointment of Indigenous women to key roles, including at the heart of government. From federal politicians, the Member for Barton and Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services and for Preventing Violence, the Hon Linda Burney MP, and Senator for the Northern Territory, Senator the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy, to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Ms June Oscar AO, to the first Indigenous Boardlinks Champion, Ms Tanya Hosch, to our very own Co-Chair of the Council, Ms Andrea Mason OAM, Indigenous women are being recognised at the highest levels. We acknowledge the role these women play in demonstrating leadership, advocating for the rights of Indigenous peoples, and reminding our Indigenous girls that they are strong and capable.

Elevating the voices of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women throughout Australia is critical and has been a focus of Ms Oscar. Throughout 2018, as part of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices), Ms Oscar led a national conversation with 2,294 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls to hear their priorities, challenges and aspirations for themselves, their families and their futures. These conversations will inform Ms Oscar’s Report, to be released in mid-2019, highlighting the critical factors that are impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls’ security and success. The IAC heard from Ms Oscar in October 2018 on some of the issues that women and girls were speaking about and the changes they aspired to. We look forward to continuing to work with Ms Oscar to give greater voice to the challenges and priorities that Indigenous women and girls across the country have identified, and with the government to drive this positive change.