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First Nations Women in Leadership Summit to showcase the strength of Indigenous women

Brendan Foster -

It is no secret that First Nations people are underrepresented in leadership roles across corporate Australia and in senior roles in government.

According to the 2023 Australian Indigenous Employment Index, First Nations people account for five per cent of the workforce, yet fill only 0.7 per cent of senior management positions.

While the lack of First Nations people having a "seat at the table" of some of Australia's largest companies is glaringly obvious, the number of Indigenous women holding director roles is almost absent.

Yet, First Nations women have always provided impactful leadership responsibilities for Country and law in their communities and are often the bedrock of family.

So, the organisers of the inaugural First Nations Women in Leadership Summit are planning to celebrate the strength and power of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

The Hatchery is teaming up National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Alliance [NATSIWA] to host a summit to amplify the voice, wisdom and power, and promote the inherent leadership and resilience of First Nations women.

The two-day event in Meanjin (Brisbane) on May 22-23rd is a celebration of the vital role First Nations women hold as carers, teachers, healers and leaders in their workplaces, families and communities.

Several prominent First Nations women leaders will be keynote speakers at the summit, including: proud Wiradjuri descendant Donna Burns – the chief executive of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association; Yiman and Bidjara woman and Associate Provost and Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies, at the University of Melbourne Professor Marcia Langton, and Proud Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman and Director of Partnerships and Programs from the Department of Education in QLD, Rebecca Johnson.

NATSIWA chairperson and proud Noongar woman Joslyn Eades-Tass will be delivering a speech on "Improving outcomes & ensuring demonstrated positive impact for our women and girls".

There will also be panel discussions, interactive Q&A, networking opportunities and much more.

Head of Production and Research at The Hatchery, Ellen Foxall Said there were many examples of First Nations who were trailblazers and change makers.

"We know that First Nations women are vastly underrepresented in leadership roles," she told National Indigenous Times.

"It's critical that we can elevate and promote their leadership stories and learnings for other women.

"Through the summit, we wanted to create a united forum and culturally safe space to showcase the diversity of these women as leaders, but also as carers, healers and teachers in their workplaces, families and communities.

Ms Foxall said that one of the main purposes of the summit was to bring people together and connect them with knowledge to inspire change.

"We're really proud to partner with National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Alliance [NATSIWA] on the summit and believe there is a real need to spotlight the critical role of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women as leaders across community, government and business sectors," she said.

"There is so much power in shared stories of strength and resilience and we're delighted to be able to connect, empower and celebrate First Nations women leaders, current and emerging through the event."

The organisers are proud to offer full scholarship passes to First Nations women who may not otherwise be able to pay to attend. To apply or find out more, email [email protected].

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