This post is written by Liz Murphy-Forrester from Queensland Conservation Council. It orginally appears on their website. Queensland Conservation Council and North Queensland Conservation Council collaborated together to put on an event for Queensland Women's Week.
In a culture where we are often focused on limitations, 'Empowering NQ women for the Environment' on Magnetic Island was an event that celebrated the incredible capacity of generations of NQ women standing up boldly for the environment.
The weekend retreat, held during Queensland Women's Week, saw women from Mackay through to Cairns come together to share stories, skills and strengthen networks. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women shared stories, through dance, about their life journeys and caring for country.
The story of the endangered cassowary and their particular vulnerability to marauding hunting dogs was incredibly moving. Regulatory control has been ineffective thus far in reigning the problem in.
We were privileged to have women present who have a long and rich history of advocating for nature in North Queensland. They shared some stories about past campaigns whilst also reflected on what has changed and what hasn't. This was an excellent opportunity for emerging advocates for nature to ask questions and deepen their understanding of the issues and the environment movement in QLD/NQLD as a whole.
While some limitations to women's participation and leadership where noted, such as the disparity between representation on the ground, as compared to say the policy making sphere, and the barriers that caring for children can create. There was an overall focus on resilience, sharing, care and support as key components to facilitating spaces where women can be empowered and bold in using their voices for nature.
The event was also an opportunity to share skills in community organising, social media and digital technology as well as the making of cloth (recyclable) bags. North Queensland is in the thick of politics around climate change and it is important that the women there have time to come together as they did during this event to share stories and skills, seek support and share challenges. QCC is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with NQCC in putting this event together. QCC would also like to thank the QLD Government and the YWCA for the funding that enabled this event to happen.