World's first justice institute for First Nations women opens at ANU

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Last night, we gathered at the Australian National University to launch the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Institute for First Nations Gender Justice.

Based at the Australian National University, the institute is the first of its kind and brings together First Nations researchers to help develop initiatives to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls.

Chaired by ANU Honorary Professor and outgoing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Dr June Oscar, the new institute will build on the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women's Voices) Project led by the Australian Human Rights Commission for the last seven years.

The Institute is the vehicle for governments to act on the findings of the multi-year systemic change Wiyi Yani U Thangani project. It will work to overcome disadvantage in First Nations communities through developing holistic partnership processes.”

“It is a space to unite with multidisciplinary stakeholders to develop, design and implement initiatives that drive systemic change. These initiatives will target the root causes of issues, such as intersectional discriminations and financial insecurity to progressively improve the health, wellbeing and safety of First Nations women and girls, their families and communities.

“Wiyi Yani U Thangani shows that women are the backbone of our communities, with lived experiences and knowledges which are vital to resolving deeply entrenched socio-economic issues and structural discriminations for generations to come.

“Our women are the custodians of vital wisdom in sustaining life, and are the cornerstone of our communities; nurturing children, families, kin, and Country.

“I give my deepest thanks to the Hon Julie Bishop, Chancellor of the ANU and Professor Genevieve Bell, Vice-Chancellor and President of the ANU, for their incredible support of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Institute for First Nations gender justice.”

The Honourable Julia Gillard, AC, Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership:

“The women’s movement has not always been inclusive of all women.

“We want to leave that past behind and to have a present-day feminism and women’s movement that understands intersectionality, that embraces all voices.

“For too long First Nations Australians and particularly women have been required to tolerate the decision making of others when their voices haven’t been heard and haven’t been included. The institute is there to help us change that for the future and that will make everything we want to do for gender equality more effective.”

The Project has engaged with over 2,000 women and girls, and ANU said the results show Indigenous women are "key to holding society together, healing, reducing harms and violence, and guaranteeing cohesion and healthy environments for everyone".

We look forward to working in partnership with the Institute over the coming months and years, supporting its vital mission to advance the voices of First Nations women and girls to help improve the policies shaping the lives of Indigenous people.

Updated:  14 May 2024/Responsible Officer:  Institute Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications