Every week we put the spotlight on women of colour all around the world.
This week is no different, but you may notice a lot of content is focussed on First Nations women in Australia.
Because this week marks the 26th of January, aka Australia Day or Invasion Day - a day of mourning and remembrance for First Nations people in Australia, and for many non-indigenous Australians. (ICYMI: Glowreel HQ is in Australia).
To our First Nations friends and audience, we stand with you and we will continue to highlight the incredible work of women in the Aboriginal community.
Let's get glowing!
P.S. Representation matters. Which is why we are here: to share as many stories as we can about women of colour from all over the world, and amplify as many voices as possible.
Aboriginal Brands That Speak Power
First Nations Fashion Flaunts Facts
Recognising that fashion is a platform for sharing important social messages, including a powerful form of political protest, Widders-Hunt notes that now more than ever, First Nations fashion is playing a critical role in sharing and celebrating Indigenous communities and culture.
Some of our favourite Indigenous women founded fashion brands included in the roundup (we think you'll love them too!) are:
- Ginny’s Girl Gang - founded by Regina “Ginny” Orcher who creates custom denim jackets. But that's not all! Each jacket has a powerful message featured on the back, with empowering energy like ‘Queen Crowned in Curls’ or ‘Royalty inside my DNA.’
- Gammin Threads - founded by Tahnee, who describes Gammin Threads as her side hustle and creative outlet from her full time job at an Aboriginal family violence prevention service. The label offers "deadly chill wear and accessories for people who believe in living colourfully, paying respect and empowering women."
- Clothing The Gap - the Aboriginal owned and led social enterprise is a play on Closing the Gap", an Australian Government health initiative to help close the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal people and non-Indigenous Australians. Clothing The Gap unites non-Indigenous and Aboriginal people through fashion and causes, and encourages people to wear their values on their sleeve!
Aboriginal Women In The Running For 2021 Australian Of The Year
Tanya Hosch and Professor Helen Milroy are two of the eight finalists for the 2021 Australian of the Year award, and with good reason. The annual awards recognise the impact and achievement of Australians across a range of sectors.
Hosch is credited with leading "visionary" change inside the AFL - one of Australia's largest sporting bodies. She is the first Indigenous person, and second woman, on the AFL's executive leadership team as the executive general manager for inclusion and social policy.
"The more aware you become of the inequalities people live with the more you want to be a part of changing those situations and systems that enable that ... to be a voice for some of those things, and to be invited to sit at the table to advise on some of those things is a huge motivator," says Hosch.
She's also used her platform to call for Australia Day to be moved away from January 26 so it can be a public holiday celebrated by everyone.
Milroy is recognised as Australia's first Indigenous medical doctor and was the first Indigenous AFL Commissioner.
Having been raised in a family of healers, she balances her work in medicine with paying respect to the traditional healers who came before her over thousands of years. She's also supported the Aboriginal and medical workforce in applying Indigenous knowledge and cultural models of care.
Milroy is regarded as a pioneer in research, education and training in Aboriginal and child mental health, and recovery from grief and trauma.
How To Boost Diversity - As Told By Women Of Colour
Women of colour leaders shared their thought on how to make the world a more diverse and inclusive place during the Wold Economic Forum's Pioneers of Change Summit.
Revathi Advaithi, CEO of manufacturing company Flex, calls out sponsorship as a way to help level the playing field in 2021.
“All companies need to find a way to sponsor women, sponsor minorities, sponsor Black people ... we need people who, at the point they’re going to make a decision, stand up for that woman, that Black person or that minority."
Lindiwe Matlali, Founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks and a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur, considers more and better visibility of role models is crucial. Representation matters, after all!
- Amanda Gorman made history as the youngest inaugural poet at the US Inauguration Day last week. Her Inaugural Day poem, the Hill We Climb, reflects on political and racial injustices and divisions in the US while also finding a space for hope, unity and joy as the country looks towards the future. Haven't read the poem yet? You should! It's beautiful and available to read here.
- Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia is currently a number 1 best seller on Amazon Australia. The must read anthology is compiled by award winning Aboriginal writer, Dr Anita Heiss and showcases many diverse voices, experiences and stories in order to answer the underlying question of "what's it like growing up Aboriginal in Australia"?. The collection of stories is here to enlighten, inspire and educate about the lives of Aboriginal people in Australia today. Get your hot little hands on a copy of this book today, available here.
- Senator Lidia Thorpe, a Djabwurrung Gunnai Gunditjmara woman and the first Aboriginal Senator for the State of Victoria in Australia, has called on communities, councils and organisations across Australia to fly the Aboriginal Flag at half mast on January 26. In making this call to action, she's asked all Australians to join the Aboriginal community in acknowledging January 26 as a day of respectful reflection and mourning for those who died fighting for country.
- Immunologist Kizzmekia Corbett is part of the National Institutes of Health team that developed the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19. She's been vocal about her involvement in the vaccine as a way to help show communities of colour that the vaccine is safe adn effective.
- Jennifer King is the first full-time African-American female coach in NFL history after being appointed as a full time offensive assistant coach for the Washington Football Team. This follows her historical appointment as a full-year coaching intern for the team in 2020. We have no doubt that King will continue to make waves in the NFL coaching arena!
- Sunshine Super Girl is the live theatre biopic about Australian tennis icon, and 14 time Grand Slam winner, Evonne Goolagong Cawley. Written and directed by Yorta Yorta/Gunaikurnai playwright Andrea James, and starring Yued/Wiilman Noongar actor Tuuli Narkle in the iconic role, Sunshine Super Girl ran at Sydney Town Hall from January 8-17 as part of the Sydney Festival. Here’s hoping it makes its way to more theatres soon (or the silver screen!). More on on Goolagong Cawley below.
Model, Mother, and Activist
Influencing For Change
Fallon Gregory is a proud Kija and Bardi Jawi woman who wears many hats, including being a model, mother and an Indigenous activist.
With over 20,000 followers on Instagram, Gregory uses her platform to speak out about social injustices, particularly for the Aboriginal community, amplify Aboriginal voices and to encourage Aboriginal Australians to use social media as a tool to bring awareness and change.
Speaking about her platform, Gregory notes "... it means I have the luxury to speak and be heard, and therefore amplifying voices and issues for others and myself, and allowing others to become educated or aware of them on a larger scale."
Including Every Child In The Tech Revolution
Lindiwe Matlali is the Founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, a social enterprise that teaches children and unemployed youth how to code, exposes them to computer science, and inspires a future generation of technology entrepreneurs and innovators. Matlali is driven by the belief that no child should be left behind by the tech revolution.
Established in 2014, Africa Teen Geeks has grown to become the largest computer science non-profit organisation in Africa. One of the organisation's biggest highlights is the first computer science week it hosted. 12,500 children from disadvantaged communities were invited to computer science classes at various University of South Africa computer labs. 98 per cent of those kids had never touched a computer before; by the end of the day they had written their first code!
Wiradjuri Wonder Woman: Evonne Goolagong Cawley
Like all Aboriginal people in the 50s and 60s, Goolagong faced widespread discrimination growing up. But one day, local player Bill Kurtzman saw a young brown girl peaking through the fence at the local courts. So, he invited her to play.
A small but not insignificant act of kindness. And, it provided the opportunity that Goolagong needed to change her life and tennis history forever.
A champion at 19, Goolagong won the 1971 French Open and Wimbledon singles crowns. Fun fact: she defeated renowned bigot, Margaret Court, at the Wimbledon final.
Inspiration for mums everywhere
The Wiradjuri Wonder Woman later became the first mother to win Wimbledon in 66 years when she won it all again in 1980. Oh, and she became the only Wimbledon champion in history to defeat four top ten players on her way to the title.
All up, this Australian icon won 14 Grand Slam tournament titles (seven in singles) and ended with 82 singles titles across her professional career.
Further accolades include:
- Australian of the Year in 1971
- Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1972
- Officer of the Order of Australia in 1982
- Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985
- International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1988
- Companion of the Order of Australia in 2018
Bigger than tennis
Perhaps even more important than her sporting accolades are her contributions to improve the lives of all indigenous Australians. Since 1997 has held the position of Sports Ambassador to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.
And she now leads the Evonne Goolagong Foundation which “uses tennis as a vehicle to attract Indigenous girls & boys in order to promote and help provide high quality education and better health through diet and exercise.”
Let's name the arena after her
If Evonne Goolagong Cawley is the kind of woman you believe we should celebrate, please consider signing the Petition to Rename the Margaret Court Arena the Evonne Goolagong Arena.
“When you have a dream you have to work hard to achieve that dream. Your dreams when you are young can be the force that keeps you going.”
- Evonne Goolagong Cawley
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