By Caitlin Paroczai, The West Australian
Strong mentors are key to empowering young Aboriginal women to enter a more diverse range of industries, a group of First Nations women have said.
Michelle Woosnam, a Banjima, Ballardong Noongar woman, said it was difficult for young Aboriginal women to find networking groups or support programs after finishing high school.
“There are some great support programs out there for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in high school,” she said.
“But once they get out into the workforce people often feel lost or disconnected,” she said.
Ms Woosnam and Noongar woman Narelle Henry, both pictured, last week launched a digital community to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman access to mentors and employment guidance.
The platform, called Ember Connect, will also provide personal development and enable sharing of culture.
“As Aboriginal women, we don’t necessarily have the who you know in our lives, so we need someone to open the door for us,” Ember Connect General Manager, Ms Henry, said.
“It’s about how we can connect those women with influential people. They need to have all the information available to them.”
Ms Woosnam – Ember Connect’s Culture and Membership Development Manager – said she was hoping to collaborate with organisations providing services to First Nations women.
Ember Connect mentor Sadie Heckenberg, a Wiradjuri scholar, said there was still an under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women across many industries.
“Businesses need to realise that Aboriginal women have unique skills and expertise in our own areas,” she said.