LETTER: Women role models empower generations

THIS week is NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week across Australia. 

Following this year’s theme of “because of her, we can” I want to tell you about the importance of women in all the work I do especially within my Aboriginal services.

Women play a significant role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and this NAIDOC week we are asked to reflect on their contribution to the growth and development of our country.

For at least 65,000 years Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have carried dreaming stories, songlines, languages and knowledge. 

Having strong female role models is absolutely crucial to helping young people grow, not only is it important for young women, but young men draw so much from mothers, grandmothers, aunties and friends. 

Across my organisation, Youth Off The Streets, we have female staff in every program, from schools to outreach to specialist services the women in our programs contribute enormous amounts to bettering the lives of young people.

We have so much to learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their culture. 

Father Chris Riley,

CEO and founder at Youth Off The Streets

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