2010 Projects » Indigenous Women’s Experiences of Work: Key Issues in Urban Queensland

This research project was funded by Queensland Working Women’s Service (QWWS) for Security4Women (eS4W). ES4W is an incorporated body, which is funded by the Australian Government through the Office for Women (OfW), Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA). ES4W works to promote lifelong economic wellbeing for women. QWWS is an organisation providing information, referral and support to women who work in Queensland. Driving this ES4W project is a commitment to inform government and the actions and interventions of agencies, like QWWS, and on how to best serve Indigenous women in the workplace. Though the project focuses on Indigenous women, the authors wish to make clear that the issues raised affect many Indigenous people (including men).

The current project builds upon our work in a recent report entitled: Indigenous Women and QWWS (click here for a copy of the report). Whilst that report was primarily concerned with the ways in which QWWS might improve it service to Indigenous women in Queensland, it also provided a glimpse of Indigenous women’s employment experiences, which was the catalyst to the current project.

The current work is designed to examine Indigenous women’s experiences of work, with a focus on key issues in urban Queensland. Its main objective is to explore those issues that continue to impede Indigenous women’s employment and promotion at work. This objective is seen to be of crucial importance to enhancing the economic security and wellbeing of Indigenous women and their families.

Though the findings are limited to the urban context in which they were carried out, it is envisaged that they will contribute to a national analysis of the working experiences of Indigenous women and families across Australia.

This report recommends:

  1. That eS4W advocate for the appointment of Indigenous women to relevant authoritative committees to ensure the outcomes from its consultations contribute to national policy reform that is appropriate to the lifelong economic wellbeing of Indigenous women (and men);
  2. That eS4W design, propose and advocate to Government an Indigenous Employment and Development Strategy to ensure the equitable recruitment and retention of Indigenous staff at all levels of its operations;
  3. That eS4W advocate to Government to fund and provide cultural awareness training for all employees to enhance understanding of servicing Indigenous clients, encourage recognition and respect of Indigenous values and cultures, and provide additional education for managers and supervisors of Indigenous employees to raise their awareness of issues faced by Indigenous employees;
  4. That eS4W include an Indigenous friendly section on their website, with links to eS4W project reports by/for Indigenous women and to other Indigenous sites, particularly Indigenous employee networks that support and advocate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interests, values and perspectives (e.g., Indigenous Australian Public Service Employee Networks, & DEEWR’s Mura-Kaimel Yarrangi Network) and Indigenous newspapers, which contain information about employment opportunities, specifically for Indigenous Australians (e.g., Koori Mail, National Indigenous Times, & Torres News);
  5. That eS4W use this report as a focus for discussion of the key issues concerning Indigenous women’s experiences of work;
  6. That eS4W disseminate the findings of this report to government and key agencies;
  7. That eS4W convene a working party with the Indigenous Women’s Research Consortium (IWRC) to consider the need and feasibility for a nation-wide investigation of Indigenous women’s experiences of work; and 
  8. That eS4W approve processes to ensure that this and future research include an ISBN number so that the research is readily available though libraries and other collections in Queensland, and other States and Territories across Australia.