International Women’s day is a celebration of what women have achieved and how far they have come. Aboriginal women had twice as far to travel with more hurdles than you see in the Olympics. We were over looked, the white colonizers treated us worse than our men. We had to fall into the structures of a male dominated society and that completely ignored our role in the Aboriginal community and the family. We encouraged and helped our white sisters in their push for equality, the shame being that they didn’t support us. The Feminist movement did nothing to help Indigenous or Black women around the world. They used us like steps on a ladder to push their own agenda.
But Our women were always feminists. Traditionally we didn’t see women as the property of men, they were not subservient. The man wasn’t the head of the family. We had a system that recognised the importance of both male and female. We have been trying to reclaim that after the missionaries and early settlers pushed their patriarchal system and ideals on us. Having our women recognised as equal is still foreign to white Australia. It doesn’t recognise the importance of two people male and female representing us on all levels.
In the hospital system it is important to have male Aboriginal hospital liaison officers to work with our men and female ones to work with the women. The same goes for everything we do. Don’t ask a woman about men’s business, she won’t tell you, she can’t tell you. The same with men talking women’s business.
Because we value the strength and knowledge of women we have been putdown and demeaned by the wider Australian community. We were told in one period of oppression that our men had problems with alcohol and drugs because we were not in a hunter gatherer society anymore and that women do more than they used to in traditional society and usurped our men. Luckily we saw through this and know it for an attack on us, rather than look at the big picture of what is going wrong.
Our women hold together our families and communities. We need to celebrate our women and rejoice that we have so many strong young women coming up who will replace our Elders. Our women hold the spirit of our culture. Show your love and appreciation to the Strong Black women this International Women’s Day