In August the NSW Treasury released the First Nations Women’s Economic Participation Review: Pathways to Prosperity. As a First Nation’s and female co-founded and led company, Murawin is deeply invested in the topics discussed within this document and commend the NSW Government for this first step into researching and dissecting the multi-faceted reasons behind the disproportionate gap seen between First Nations and non-Indigenous women’s economic participation in NSW.
Prosperity is a word that can mean different things to different people and cultures, and it is refreshing to see it defined within this document as more than just economic wealth but in a fuller, more expansive, and well-rounded sense that is “broader than just economic, its social and cultural and interlinked with wellbeing.”*
“Everyone having enough and there being enough for everyone.” *
The document outlines many stark statistics in relation to First Nations health, home ownership, employment, education, incarceration and more, whilst acknowledging how all these issues are interlinked and products of colonisation, dispossession, racism, and cultural differences. It also acknowledges and outlines key themes of “self-determination, sustainability and independence” that came out of extensive community consultation as pathways forward to prosperity for First Nations women, families, and communities.
It has long been our view at Murawin that one of the key levers we can pull to close the gap and lessen the cycles of disadvantage that we see in our communities, is to empower our young women and girls to achieve their entrepreneurial, business, and educational goals. We know (and it is backed up in this document) that if we ensure First Nations women are empowered to have financial freedom, as key caregivers, this will have a broader positive affect not only on themselves as individuals, but on their children, family, and community at large.
“Employment can dramatically change the life of not only a woman, but also her family.” *
Supporting an Indigenous woman with her business, provides her with the opportunity to generate wealth and economically empowers her, her children, her family, and community. This is why we started Tiddas in Business, a program that provides Indigenous women with a range of tools to help build and grow their businesses through intensive, culturally appropriate training, workshops, mentoring, networking and leadership development. Tiddas in Business supports Indigenous women to become economically empowered, so that they can become a driver of change for their families and contribute to closing the gap in Indigenous economic disadvantage.
We are also invested in supporting our young girls in a holistic manner, through the transition between primary and secondary, to obtain a well-rounded education including formal education and schooling, as well as cultural and community education, as it goes hand in hand. It is about building their confidence, self-belief and equip them with the tools to succeed in life, in whatever way they choose.
“First Nations people thrive when self-determination is at play.” *
At Murawin we always choose hope and positivity. It is exciting to see others working towards the mission of ending cycles of disadvantage that affect Indigenous people in this country and doing it in a way that is respectful, collaborative and in consultation with the communities it effects. It is only through large scale systems change, alongside self-determination and community led approaches, that we will see the changes we so desperately want and need.
We encourage everyone to read the full document below and hope to see this approach followed through on by the NSW government.
*All quotes taken from the “First Nations Women’s Economic Participation Review: Pathways to Prosperity“ https://www.treasury.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-08/trp23-05_first-nations-womens-economic-participation-review_pathways-to-prosperity.pdf