Philanthropic Investment in Aboriginal Women Needed - Report
29 October 2012 at 10:44 am
Australian philanthropists are being urged to invest in programs to assist Aboriginal women and girls who can then act as catalysts for social change in their local communities, according to a new AMP report.
The AMP Foundation report The Best of Every Woman: An Overview of Approaches for Philanthropic Investment in Aboriginal Women and Girls focuses on the learning and development pathways of Aboriginal women and girls aged 0-34 years.
The report, produced by research consultancy Effective Philanthropy, explores what programs and supports can assist Aboriginal women and girls in transitioning through education and gaining the knowledge, skills and qualifications they need to pursue their life and career goals.
The Report also provides a framework that philanthropists and policy makers can use to inform their own efforts to support Aboriginal women and girls to get the knowledge, skills and qualifications that they need to pursue their life and career goals.
AMP Chief Executive Officer Craig Dunn said The Best of Every Woman highlights the important contribution of Aboriginal women and identifies where more focus is needed.
"While it's recognised there are significant health, wellbeing and education completion gaps between Aboriginal people and other Australians, the particular challenges faced by Aboriginal women and girls are often lost within the broader context in which these issues are discussed and responded to," he said.
“Aboriginal women and girls play an important role as drivers for change in Aboriginal families and communities. We hope this report will act as a guide for philanthropic organisations and help identify programs that can best support the next generation of Aboriginal women and girls in reaching their education, career and life aspirations.”
Women act as catalysts for change
The Best of Every Woman report is consistent with many international studies in highlighting the important role women play in leading improvements in the health and wellbeing of their families and communities, and in acting as catalysts for social change. As such, investing in Aboriginal women and girls provides a high investment value for philanthropic funding.
A non-linear education pathway is common amongst Aboriginal women
Due to family, peer and community influences, extended family obligations and early family formation and carer responsibilities, many Aboriginal women defer transitioning into further study or work until they’ve had their family and their children have started school.
The availability of culturally appropriate child care has an important role to play
The cost and availability of culturally appropriate child care can play a significant role in an Aboriginal woman’s decision to defer taking up further study or work.
Access to information and networks can have a significant effect
Aboriginal women and girls are often the first family member to complete school or enrol in tertiary education. This means they don’t have anyone in their immediate family to help them through the transition from school and into further study. Navigating the education system on their own and finding a new place to live that is away from their family and community can be a significant barrier to women being able to complete further study.
Strengthening cultural identity
Aboriginal women involved in the research consistently re-iterated the importance of culture and cultural identity. They noted the need to ensure Aboriginal women and girls are supported to strengthen and reinforce their cultural identity to help them operate in two cultures successfully – to live, study and work within mainstream educational and employment systems while maintaining their cultural and community connection.
Leadership support and growth capital could drive future successes
There are many excellent programs which are set up to specifically work with Aboriginal women and girls. Many of these programs are small but effective, but could benefit from leadership support and growth capital to help further extend their reach.
Louise Doyle, one of the report authors from Effective Philanthropy, said that despite the progress and considerable contribution made by Aboriginal women today, too many Aboriginal women and girls still face a number of challenges in reaching their full potential.
“It’s important that we recognise the potential of Aboriginal women and girls as well as the factors which can hold them back from reaching their potential," Doyle said.
“This report provides a framework that philanthropists and policy makers can use to inform their own efforts to specifically support Aboriginal women and girls. By identifying key success factors that can be used when designing, funding and delivering programs for Aboriginal women and girls, we can hopefully build on and replicate the positive work that is already being done.”
The Best of Every Woman report follows 2008 research – Our Children, Our Future, which helped guide AMP Foundation’s funding in Indigenous education.
In 2012, the AMP Foundation says it contributed over $1.65 million to programs to support education and employment skill development for young Indigenous Australians.
The AMP Foundation supports organisations that work to build the capability of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly Aboriginal people, through education and training.