Sarah Eccles

Sarah Eccles
Community Engagement & Facilitation


International Women’s Day 2024

Today, I want to recognise and celebrate the deadly as First Nations women looking after their Country and communities, for the work they do tirelessly every day!

I want to highlight the women’s networks investing in women to come together, to have unity in struggles and create space to collectively work out ways to meet our local communities’ needs, to support First Nations voices and leadership in creating positive change.

An outstanding example is the Kimberley Indigenous Women Rangers network, supporting women rangers to develop their skills and confidence to grow and be stronger together. The network is committed to increasing women ranger roles and employment, empowering women, and providing transformative benefits for families, communities, and country.

Another is the Strong Women for Healthy Country Network, which promotes the understanding that healing country means healing people, and advocates for women’s Caring for Country values, aspirations, and needs. First Nations women, Caring for Country across the Northern Territory, come together through ranger exchanges, women’s camps, training, and forums. Indigenous women support each other to stand united, to have a strong voice, to seek equal power and rights. Strong Women means Healthy Country. The two are intrinsically linked.

In my own Wadawurrung community, in south-west Victoria, I’m in leadership roles, speaking up for our community’s needs, and our self-determined future and I know the cultural responsibility that comes with this.

As a mother raising girls who will continue this work, I feel the importance of nourishing these leadership qualities and that includes my own abilities to be their strong example. I know I have a role to create space for women’s leadership and voices in Caring for Country, in conservation and in designing local solutions and policy that impacts our lives and our families.

We need to empower our women and girls and seek the enabling conditions they need to be at the decision-making tables. When we sit at those tables, we create solutions that come from a place of healing and caring, collaboration and connection, drawing from the wisdom of our ancient lineage of matriarchs.

I offer a big Nyatne (thank you) and acknowledgement to the Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia (WELA) network and the Wettenhall Environment Trust, for their collective support to better understand my leadership qualities, to build confidence and help me proudly speak up in honouring and continuing the journey my ancestors started.

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