Women & Leadership Australia has partnered with Women's Business to launch the 2023 First Nations Women’s Leadership Symposium in Naarm/Melbourne on 3 August.
Providing culturally safe leadership development experiences for First Nations women leaders, this Symposium builds on the success of the inaugural event in 2019.
Women & Leadership Australia CEO, Karen Taylor, said the event provides an important forum for connecting and inspiring First Nations women leaders.
“Advancing the rights, health, safety, and wellbeing of First Nations women and girls is vital to closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia,” Ms. Taylor said. “It’s a distressing truth that First Nations women continue to be among the most marginalised demographic in Australia. We are proud to be working in close partnership with Indigenous advisor and founder of Women’s Business, Kat Henaway, to deliver a meaningful opportunity for First Nations women to develop their leadership capacity and connections.”
When we consider the experiences of First Nations women, the statistics are confronting.
First Nations women have a considerably lower workforce participation rate compared to all women. The average workforce participation rate for First Nations women in New South Wales aged 15–64 was 62 percent, compared to 73 percent for all women in New South Wales in 2019, according to the NSW Government.
First Nations people in New South Wales are less likely to be small-business owners compared to non-Indigenous people, with First Nations women more likely to experience barriers in accessing capital to start and grow businesses than non-Indigenous businesses.
And shockingly, Indigenous females are 27 times as likely as non-Indigenous females to be hospitalised for assault.
In light of these figures, and as Australia prepares for the Referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, bringing together passionate and inspirational First Nations women leaders is timely.
Feedback from the 2019 First Nations Women's Leadership Symposium showed that the event provided a powerful opportunity for connection, reflection, and renewed strength among those who attended.
One attendee remarked, “This event has rejuvenated my spirit. We need these types of events to refocus and amplify ourselves and our sisters. The presenters all were excellent.”
Another commented, “It has broadened my understanding/acknowledgment of how important the work I am doing as an Aboriginal woman is … there are more women that think like me in this world. I am not alone.”
Women & Leadership Australia is proud to work with and support First Nations women through a number of initiatives, in line with our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan.
“As Australia moves ahead on its path towards equity and inclusion, Women & Leadership Australia is providing the training, resources, connections, and thought leadership to support individuals and organisations on this journey,” Ms. Taylor said.