Wiyi Yani U Thangani: Statement of Support
Children’s Ground is a proud supporter of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) Report and project. The report, released in December 2020, is the first time since 1986 that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls have been consulted as a collective about our rights, needs and aspirations. As Wiyi Yani U Thangani states, First Nations women and girls are strong, brave, determined and resilient — we have remarkable skills, knowledge and boundless potential. The structural inequalities, poverty, trauma and discrimination that First Nations women and girls live with in Australia today, are unacceptable and must be addressed and overcome.
The Wiyi Yani U Thangani report puts on the table an ambitious and necessary First Nations female-led plan for structural change. Children’s Ground supports the Report’s principles, key findings, overarching recommendations and pathways forward. We also back the major calls for action to hold a First Nations women and girls National Summit, and from this to develop a National Action Plan. These actions are critical in responding to the priorities set out in Wiyi Yani U Thangani so together, all Australians can achieve First nations gender justice and equality.
The Children’s Ground Approach and the 10 principles that guide our work, align succinctly with the 9 principles of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani report:
1. Embedding culture and respect for identity:
At Children’s Ground, culture and identity are recognised as the driving forces for self-determination, health, wellbeing, safety, and empowerment. Women are recognised in their cultural leadership; women Elders are recognised for their authority and together they provide the leadership for the next generation of girls. We are committed to the uplifting of cultural knowledge systems, lore, law and practice as critical to the identity and wellbeing of women.
Through our national systems change agenda, Children’s Ground is committed to truth-telling about past and present injustices inflicted upon First Nations people, including those that target women.
3. Equity in leadership:
At Children’s Ground, women and girls are respected and equally represented in leadership. Our cultural governance committees in each community are primarily comprised of women, with strong female Elders providing the vision and leadership for the organisation.
4. A rights-based approach:
Human Rights are built into policy, decision-making processes and practice at every level of Children’s Ground operations. We exist primarily to ensure human rights are afforded to First Nations people.
5. A place-based approach:
‘In community’ is one of Children’s Ground’s guiding principles. We are committed to building the social, cultural and economic capital of the places where First Nations people and women live.
6. Understanding intersectional discrimination:
At Children’s Ground, we understand that the experiences of First Nations women and girls are informed by a complex mix of race, gender, age, (dis)ability, economic hardship, language, family violence, health and wellbeing, and other social, cultural, economic and political truths that mean that they are subject to discrimination. Understanding how discrimination impacts women differently is fundamental to supporting and empowering women to end discrimination against them.
7. Lifting women lifts the whole community:
The Wiyi Yani U Thangani report shows the central role of women across First Nations communities and how the empowerment of women empowers communities. Measures designed to enhance the enjoyment of human rights by First Nations women and girls are of benefit to entire communities. In First Nations societies, men and women are connected through key roles and responsibilities through law. This is recognised and uplifted at Children’s Ground. Women are key drivers of social, cultural, economic wellbeing. At Children’s Ground, women, men, Elders, children, and young people all benefit from the uplifting and empowerment of women and through this we celebrate everyone.
8. Inclusion and participation:
At Children’s Ground, women and girls are supported to participate at all levels of the organisation including design, delivery, governance, evaluation and participation in decision-making that affects their lives. Our cultural governance committees and leadership teams are dominated by strong women making decisions. One of our key principles is inclusion, ensuring what we do is for the benefit of all in our communities.
9. Accountability and transparency:
At Children’s Ground, we continue to call on the government for transparency in all actions and decisions and demand accountability for outcomes. We are committed to transparency and accountability. We are accountable to our communities and to the broader public. We do this through a range of communication, reports and regular evaluations.
It is time to respond to First Nations women and girls’ voices by implementing the Wiyi Yani U Thangani report.