Murdoch University hosted a meeting for local Indigenous professional women with the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Her Excellency Dame Dr Patience Goodluck Jonathan, and key women members of her entourage.
Murdoch Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Higgott, Professor Bev Thiele, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) and Professor Rhonda Marriott, Director of the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre at Murdoch, welcomed the group, who are in Perth for the CHOGM events.
“Given the prominence of Human Rights on the agenda of the CHOGM meeting, we were pleased to create an opportunity for African and Indigenous women to talk with each other about Australia’s most pressing social justice and equity issue,” Professor Thiele said.
“In Australia, our greatest challenges arise from the impact of poor education opportunities and poor health outcomes on the capacity of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to drive the agenda of change,” said Professor Marriott.
“While we come from African and Australian Aboriginal nations and the Wadjella community, we share troubling concerns about issues of education, health, justice, community capacity, politics and economics. There are differences in how those issues play out in our respective countries but we have much in common and can learn from one another for the challenges we each face on a daily basis.
“As women, we have important and highly influential roles in our communities. As grandmothers, mothers and sisters, we influence and strengthen our families. As community members and leaders, we have a strong voice to positively build the capacity and direction of our communities.”
She added that as women with much to learn from one another, great strength can be achieved when there are opportunities to come together to yarn and talk. “Sharing ideas and comparing experiences on commonly faced issues presents opportunities for further discussions that will endure beyond this event.”