More than 120 female rangers from across the Northern Territory gathered in Arnhem Land on Tuesday to form the first-ever network of women working in land and sea management.
Over three days, the NT Women's Healthy Country Forum will bring together workers from mostly remote regions to exchange knowledge and experience, and identify common needs.
Held at Bawurrbarnda outstation in central Arnhem Land, about 400 kilometres south-east of Darwin, the event represented 80 per cent of all women rangers from across the Northern Territory, spanning 26 different ranger groups.
The forum began with a traditional blessing ceremony and a welcome from the local Bawurrbarnda traditional owners and Mimal senior woman Elders, representing the Dalabon, Rembarrnga and Mayali peoples.
Mimal Land Management Aboriginal Corporation, an independent body caring for Country in south central Arnhem Land, has taken the lead in supporting the network.
Board member and Dalabon/Rembarrnga Elder, Annette Miller, said female rangers need more prominence in landcare management.
“Women’s time is right now,” Ms Miller said.
The forum focuses on improving practices when caring for Country and how their work can be used in other regions.
“Modern environment management has been a male dominated area,"Ms Yeganeh said, "but there are growing numbers of women working in the sector across Australia.”
“It’s also an industry where a lot of people work remotely and in relative isolation and women rangers have said they want a way to more easily connect with their female counterparts.”
Ms Yageneh said the forum co-ordinators were thrilled the event took place in Arnhem Land where women's knowledge and strong involvement for caring for Country is recognised.
The forum will include closed meetings where women may identify professional challenges and raise confidential concerns.
Workshops to help with online collaboration and professional portfolios will also be held.
“We’re setting the foundation for bringing women together and making it easier for them to share knowledge and information,” Ms Yeganeh said.