Oxfam is inviting Aboriginal women from North East Arnhem Land to participate in its Straight Talk regional gathering from 25 – 27 July in Nhulunbuy.
Oxfam’s Straight Talk regional gatherings throughout the country aim to build on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s skills to engage with the political system in order to make positive changes in their communities.
Oxfam Australia’s Straight Talk coordinator Rebecca Harnett said the regional gathering would provide the opportunity for women to exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences with each other and work together to develop strategies to address common issues.
“We’re really excited to be working together with the women of Arnhem Land to further access their political representatives to get their voices heard around issues that affect them, their families and their communities,” Ms Harnett said.
She said Straight Talk had engaged with hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women since it began seven years ago.
“Straight Talk has touched the lives of more than 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women across Australia, and has helped to connect these women with the political system and have a stronger voice,” Ms Harnett said.
“We’re confident that the women of North East Arnhem Land will bring a range of fresh ideas and powerful discussions to the event.
“Many women are already committed to making a difference in their communities and have a powerful role to play in leading change; it is critical that women have a strong voice in the decisions that affect their lives.”
Garma Festival coordinator Mayatili Marika of Yirrkala, a member of the Rirratjingu Clan of the Yolngu nation, has attended a past Straight Talk gathering, and encourages other women to apply.
“Indigenous women are multi-taskers from the moment they come into the world,” she said. “Add on top of that being mothers and grandmothers, sisters, wives and aunties; they’ve been lobbying since day dot and using all these amazing, intricate skills in their daily lives.
“I think it’s the recognition and acknowledgement that, ‘Yes, you have these amazing skills’. Let them apply those home skills in a different sphere or spectrum. That in itself is priceless; it’s empowering.
“I found it exceptionally inspiring to be in the same room as other women who had such a diverse life experience, to hear and share stories and find commonalities between us, despite us all being so different.”