“Women hold up half the sky” – Chinese proverb

For three days in September, I had the privilege to be a part of an historic discussion on women’s participation in the economy at the APEC Women and the Economy Summit in San Francisco. 

The theme of the summit was to highlight the economic potential of women; to lift their families, communities and nations prosperity; along with addressing the barriers that are blocking women and girls in achieving their potential.

I was asked to participate in the High Level Policy Dialogue and was surprised to also be named as a ‘Woman of Innovation’ at the summit.  Forty-two women from each of the APEC economies were honoured, including fellow Australian, Lynette Mayne of Work Wear World.

The Summit keynote by Hillary Rodham Clinton did not disappoint.  Secretary Clinton called for action and big and bold ideas.  “A lot of what we are doing is not achieving the outcomes that we are seeking.

There is a stimulative and ripple effect that kicks in when women have greater access to jobs and the economic fortunes of their families, their communities and their countries.”

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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