Unlocking the potential of Aboriginal women and girls

I am a true believer in the investment of Aboriginal women and girls. Investing in women raises the fortunes of their families, communities and the nation. It also generates the greatest return on investment locally, nationally and globally.

A recent report on the philanthropic investment in Aboriginal women and girls has outlined the key barriers and challenges they face. These barriers erode our women’s abilities to participate in their economies and to support their families—whether as employees, mangers or entrepreneurs.

Two fantastic examples of the power and potential of women as ‘change agents’ are the NPY Women’s Council and Martumuli Artists.  Both organisations were finalists the 2012 Indigenous Governance Awards, with the NPY Women’s Council named the winner for the incorporated organisation category.

The NPY Women’s Council is one of Australia’s oldest and most respected Aboriginal organisations.  Established over 30 years ago by the women of the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankungtjatjara lands across SA, NT and WA, the organisation works to strengthen and promote the health, safety, culture, economic, emotional and social wellbeing of women and their families in these communities.

Martumuli Artists represent artists from seven Martu communities in the East Pilbara region.  Martumuli Artists have become a high profile, nationally recognised arts enterprise providing services and opportunities to more than 300 artists—many of whom are women.  These women wanted to pass on their culture and knowledge of Country to the next generation. They wanted to create an arts movement that would support Martu people socially and economically.

Today I know many Aboriginal women who are successfully managing to maintain their family obligations, cultural identity and community connectedness whilst at the same time participating in a western cultural environment, in workplaces and businesses.

We need to create the right environment which supports Aboriginal women and girls to participate in the economy and continue to maintain their family obligations and cultural connectedness.

This is where reconciliation is important.

Reconciliation Australian’s core business is to create the right environment for stronger relationships, national pride and shared prosperity for all Australians. Stronger relationships that are built on shared knowledge and respect are key to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples participating fully in the economic and social opportunities enjoyed by the wider community.

In turn we believe Australia can build a more economically and socially strong, confident nation.

You can hear more from Leah and some other amazing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in this short video by AMP.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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