Women rangers from across the Northern Territory are gathering in Arnhem Land this week to form the first-ever network of women working in land and sea management.
More than 120 women rangers are meeting for a three-day forum at Bawurrbarnda outstation in central Arnhem Land, about 400 kilometres south-east of Darwin.
The Northern Territory Womens Healthy Country Forum aims to give women rangers the chance to share knowledge and experience, identify common needs and establish the network.
The forum coordinator Tina Yeganeh said the network has grown from women wanting to connect with one another.
“Modern environment management has been a male dominated area, but there are growing numbers of women working in the sector across Australia,” Ms Yeganeh said.
“It’s also an industry where a lot of people work remotely and in relative isolation and women rangers have said they want a way to more easily connect with their female counterparts.”
The three-day forum comes off the back of a series of on-ground discussions that have been taking place this year with women across Arnhem Land and the Territory.
“It’s early days and this forum is an opportunity to think strategically about how it will look and work best into the future for women and their crucial roles as environmental caretakers,” Ms Yeganeh said.
Mimal Land Management Aboriginal Corporation has taken the lead in supporting the network and is also hosting the forum.
Mimal board member and elder Annette Miller says women are important caretakers for country.
“Women’s time is right now,” Ms Miller said.
The forum will host closed meetings where women have the chance to identify professional challenges and raise confidential concerns. There will also be development workshops in multimedia storytelling and recording and creating collaborative artworks and professional portfolios.
“We’re setting the foundation for bringing women together and making it easier for them to share knowledge and information,” Ms Yeganeh said.
“We’re thrilled this landmark event is taking place in the Northern Territory and in Arnhem Land where the need for women’s involvement and intrinsic knowledge of caring for country is being recognised.”