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2022 marks the third year that Future Women has joined forces with Witchery to present an International Women’s Day breakfast panel with trailblazing First Nations women.
This year’s panel featured Dr Summer May Finlay, Karla Grant and Nardi Simpson, and was hosted by Wonnarua and Yuin woman, Future Women’s very own Madi Howarth. They discussed Indigenous women’s relationship with feminism, and how to combat biases and discrimination in pursuit of a more inclusive women’s movement.
“We have racism, institutionally and interpersonally, across every single sector. When I had my first Telehealth appointment for my pregnancy and I told them I was Aboriginal I got offered a social worker three times. I have a bloody PhD! I own my goddamn house! I don’t need a social worker. What she did was apply stereotypes to me that made me nervous. I was worried – as a well-educated person with a partner and a fantastically supportive family – that my child might be at risk [of being taken away]. That’s the kind of fear that Aboriginal women go through in the healthcare setting and the child protection setting. We need to have governments at all levels – and individuals – working to coordinate across the education, justice, health and housing sectors. But we also need [those sectors] to be free of racism.” – Dr Summer May Finlay, research and policy expert, lecturer
“I’m a storyteller. As Indigenous people we are storytellers. So for me, [it’s] getting stories out there about Indigenous women and about the issues that we face. And we’ve got to get them out to a wide audience so those stories are acknowledged. Through that we can create more change, make an impact and make a difference to the lives of Indigenous women.” – Karla Grant, journalist, presenter, producer
“Our word for ‘listen’ is the same word for ‘understand’. It’s the same word for ‘remember’, it’s the same word for ‘know’. Stories are a gift. The Stella Longlist was announced last night with a wave of black women and their words. Buy each of those books. When you tell a story, maybe you can make space in your story for a Black woman to tell theirs.” – Nardi Simpson, writer, musician, educator
“Sometimes others need to step out of the way for Indigenous women to thrive. We have a voice and don’t need to be spoken for. We need more opportunities in spaces where we’re not often heard or seen, because representation is important, but we need resources to create more of our own spaces for our people. Indigenous women are the backbone of our communities. We know what’s best for us, but you can always amplify our voices and listen.” – Madi Howarth, Future Women’s Community Content Coordinator
Conversations about how to practically and effectively combat inequality can be let down by a failure to include diverse voices. Meaningful change takes more than gestures or even representation, it requires that we include women of all backgrounds at all levels of leadership. Happy International Women’s Day.
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