Aboriginal women also have access to important cultural knowledge about species, plants and landscapes. By supporting these women to access land management positions, it not only leads to better outcomes for country, it also helps to keep that knowledge strong so it can be passed down to younger generations.
In Western Australia, women rangers such as Martu Elder Rita Cutter are playing a leading role in the fight to save the bilby. Using their traditional knowledge and expertise, they are carrying out surveys to record data on bilbies, undertaking fire management to protect bilby habitat and food sources; and working to track and remove feral cats from their country. Rita is also on the Indigenous subcommittee to the National Bilby Recovery Team – the first ever Indigenous subcommittee to any national recovery team.
Examples such as these demonstrate the significant impacts women can make when they are empowered to look after their country through well-resourced and properly funded programs.
Cissy Gore-Birch is National Aboriginal Engagement Manager at Bush Heritage Australia