Each year at AIATSIS we celebrate International Women’s Day to acknowledge the women around the globe who continue to empower women and girls through leadership, advocacy, strength and courage. Whether its women in their local communities and regions or on the international stage, women continue to strive to make a difference to the lives of children and families.
Over the years, we have produced an International Women’s Day poster that features an inspirational image from the AIATSIS Collection or a prominent role model in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Find out more about the meaning behind our collection of posters and print them off to display at your school, workplace or community centre to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Laurie (Gawany) Baymarrwaŋa (c.1917 – 2014) is featured on the 2019 AIATSIS International Women's Day poster in a painting by artist Gill Warden.
Laurie or Big Boss as she was affectionally known, was a senior Yolŋu leader from the Crocodile Islands, North-East Arnhem Land who was instrumental in preserving the endangered Yan-nhaŋu language.
Baymarrwaŋa passed away on Murruŋga in August 2014 and will always be remembered for her vision, wisdom and tireless struggle to follow the law in care for kin and country, for the benefit of all Australians.
It is fitting that in 2019, the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages, that we honour Laurie Baymarrwaŋa for her outstanding work preserving Yan-nhaŋu language and educating future generations about the importance of language and culture.
Virtue, Portrait of Baymarrwaŋa at Milingimbi.
Gill Warden, 2013 (Archibald Prize entrant)
The image for the 2018 International Women’s Day poster has been drawn from the AIATSIS Collection to illustrate the 2018 National NAIDOC Theme Because of Her, we can! This striking historical image speaks to the strength of the women who have gone before us to create the world we live in today.
The woman featured in this image remains unknown, but AIATSIS exists to help keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture strong. The woman is not forgotten and on this International Women’s Day we wanted to pay our respects to women like her. Her image is now spread around the country in a statement about the power of women – Because of Her, we can!
This untold story also raises the important work AIATSIS does in family history research, managing records, preserving photographs and capturing moments in history to share with the rest of the world.
The image is part of the Kerry King collection of nineteenth century photographic portraits taken in New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, Victoria between 1870 and 1900. We now hold the Kerry King portraits in the AIATSIS Collection. Download the finding aid to see information about the entire collection.
In 2017, we honoured Bunuba woman Dr June Oscar AO from Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia. June has had an impressive career working for Aboriginal communities and organisations and has also held various positions on boards and councils.
In 2017, June was selected as a National Finalist for Australia's Local Hero and was appointed as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.
As a former AIATSIS Council member, we're proud to share June’s story.
Our 2016 poster featured Naraminjeri, a Ngarrindjerri woman, wearing a possum skin cloak, carrying a child on her back, taken in South Australia, c1880, by Samuel White Sweet.
Thanks to the Raukkan Community Council we were able to showcase this iconic photo on our 2016 International Women’s Day poster which has been our most popular poster yet.
The 2014 image was chosen from our After 200 Years collection. Taken in Cherbourg Queensland in 1986, it features two women - Kathy Fisher and Tottie Collins.
Over 50,000 images were collected for the After 200 Years photographic project in partnership with communities throughout Australia. The photos documented the different lifestyles of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during the late 1980s living in remote and urban communities.
The images reflect the unique relationship between AIATSIS and communities, the significance for communities in being partners in research that is important to them and the value of the resulting collections.
As part of our celebrations for International Women’s Day in 2013, AIATSIS participated in Project Uplift - a worldwide initiative to collect new and second hand bras and swimwear and send them to women in the third world where a bra is often unobtainable or unaffordable. AIATSIS and the National Film and Sound Archive worked together to collect donations and proudly received over 500 items.
In 2012 we produced our first International Women’s Day in the hope that it assisted schools, businesses and organisations across the country to celebrate the outstanding contributions of Indigenous women each year. The image on our 2012 poster features in our Ronald Rose photographic collection and was taken some 60 years ago around the Central Australian community of Areyonga.