Aboriginal women from across WA’s vast Kimberley will gather in Broome for the region’s first ever Straight Talk, gaining skills to allow them to become powerful advocates and achieve greater equality in their communities.
The regional event comes after lobbying by Kimberley women who have taken part in previous national Straight Talk summits – and has been made possible by a unique partnership between Oxfam Australia and Kimberley Aboriginal membership organisation Aarnja.
Oxfam Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s Program Acting National Manager Ngarra Murray said women from across the Kimberley region were now able to apply to participate in the three-day summit, which would start on 9 October.
Ms Murray said Straight Talk had brought together a total of more than 600 women at national summits in Canberra and regional events since Oxfam started the program eight years ago.
“Straight Talk connects women with the political system and helps them form networks with each other and other women of influence,” Ms Murray said.
“Women have a powerful role to play in leading change, and Straight Talk helps give participants a stronger voice and confidence to be heard on the issues affecting their families and communities. This regional meeting will be a chance for women to share their ideas and strategies for tackling common issues.
“We are also excited about the pilot partnership between Oxfam and Aarnja, which has the local skills and knowledge critical to this regional event. We hope this will become a model to allow Straight Talk to be delivered in other regions and reach more women across the nation.”
Aarnja Chief Executive Officer Janine Dureau said after completing the Straight Talk program in 2012, she was determined to seek a partnership with Oxfam to deliver the event for Kimberley Aboriginal women.
“I believe this is a great opportunity for women across the Kimberley to gain knowledge of the political system and how to most effectively lobby politicians to hear our voices as mothers, grandmothers, aunties and sisters,” Mrs Dureau said.
“It is also a chance to share our struggles, our initiatives and our aspirations in a united voice for the next and future generations.”
Aarnja Executive Assistant Attika Edgar, who travelled to Canberra for the Straight Talk national summit last year, said the event had helped her gain knowledge and a better understanding of the political system.
“Straight Talk gave me everything I hoped for and much more,” Ms Edgar said. “I was immersed in engagement with Oxfam staff, facilitators, mentors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from across the country.
“The summit gave me so much confidence and I now feel comfortable to speak up and out, to open the door and to gather ideas and strategies to make the changes I want for myself and my community.”
Women interested in registering for Kimberley Straight Talk can contact Attika Edgar on 0499 332 020 or firstname.lastname@example.org