Earlier this month, more than 100 women met on Yawuru Country on Western Australia's Kimberley coast for the 2023 Kimberley Aboriginal Women's Council roundtable.
Attended by more than 80 Kimberley Aboriginal women, the two-day roundtable, titled 'Think Global - Act Local', delivered numerous workshops on topics including women's wellbeing and healing, mentoring, leadership, empowerment and resilience.
Following the roundtable, Kimberley Aboriginal Women's Council (KAWC) Chair, Janine Dureau highlighted the Council's commitment to investing, empowering, up-skilling, and supporting Kimberley Aboriginal women and girls to lead.
"As Kimberley Aboriginal women, we demand a seat at the table. After two days of discussion and reflection, we are calling for a renewed commitment to systemic change. We demand reform and a new way forward," Ms Dureau said.
The inaugural Kimberley Aboriginal Women's Roundtable in 2021 saw the KAWC request a commitment and response from the Western Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in relation to recognition, support, a single point of government contact and a bilateral commitment between the Western Australian and federal governments.
Two years later, the Council said none of their requests had been respected or acted upon by the Western Australian government.
"We have constructed a voice for women in the Kimberley that is truly representative, it is connected to our communities and families and children and brings our collective voices together," Ms Dureau said.
"As Kimberley Aboriginal women, we know our communities and we hold the solutions. We are in the best position to self-govern."
The roundtable saw the KAWC establish new foundation and ways of working, including a two-way governance and collective impact approach with a focus on empowering and creating opportunities for local women.
The roundtable also laid foundations for the 2025 International Indigenous Women's Conference, which is set to be held in the Kimberley.
"We are investing in codesign, governance, research, and evaluation. The council will go forward continuing to consult with community women and organisations to improve system reform," said Ms Dureau.
"We support women to plan and action. For thousands of years, we have supported our women to build, learn, collaborate, and lead. We are building the resources to support women and girls to dream as big as they like."
Continuing to seek genuine investment from those who are committed to self-determining partnerships and collaboration, the Kimberley Aboriginal Women's Council is calling on those who support their vision to build a new approach to community empowerment led by powerful Kimberley Aboriginal women.
Established in 2021, the Kimberley Aboriginal Women's Council was first convened to develop a community led regional action plan in response to the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women's Voices) report released by Torres Strait Islander Commissioner June Oscar.
National Indigenous Times contacted the Western Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs for comment.