Women rangers

Equal opportunities

The presence of women in ranger workforces is integral to the holistic management of Country. Indigenous women have exclusive access to certain places throughout the landscape, and are the holders of very specific ecological knowledge, including animal behaviour, habitat specifics and traditional management techniques.

Strong and engaged women rangers incorporate their knowledge into landscape-wide conservation management and ensure that it is passed down to the next generation of Custodians.

Traditional Owners manage roughly 50 per cent of Australia’s National Reserve System, largely through Indigenous ranger programs blending precise Indigenous ecological knowledge with cutting-edge science to care for Country. Over a decade ago, such ranger programs in West and Central Arnhem Land consisted predominantly of men, managing feral animals and re-establishing a program of cool early dry-season burning to protect Country from wildfires.

Purposefully designed women’s ranger programs (running alongside men’s programs) are able to provide opportunities for women in a workplace that is flexible, welcoming and culturally appropriate. Not only does this benefit Country; it has transformative benefits for families, communities and for the women themselves. It has been shown that Indigenous ranger jobs in remote Australia significantly improve health and wellbeing, increase pride and sense of self, and provide training and upskilling opportunities.

Available government funding is insufficient to meet the task of running multifaceted Indigenous ranger programs across vast areas. Women’s Ranger Programs require coordinators, infrastructure, vehicles, gear, ranger wages, training and logistical support to operate across vast areas. The Karrkad Kanjdji Trust supports our partners with core costs as they establish and grow their Women’s Ranger Programs.

Warddeken Daluk (Women) Rangers

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In 2016 the Warddeken Daluk Ranger team was established to give Nawarddeken women the opportunity to have an active role in the management and caring of their Country. This last year, the team have continued to protect Country and preserve Bininj knowledge and culture, with over 72 women working across kunwarddebim (rock art) surveying and conservation, mentoring and teaching children through the Nawarddeken Academy, and providing much of the workforce for the Mayh Recovery Project. In addition to their on-ground work, Daluk Rangers have received training in first aid, firearms, weed control, applying chemicals, performing complex 4WD vehicle operations, health and safety, chainsaw operation and maintenance, and tractor operation.

Mimal Women Rangers

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Since Mimal established its Women’s Ranger Program in 2018, it has supported an effective team of women, encouraging them to have a central role in the management of their Country, while increasing equality within Mimal’s workforce. This last year, the team has grown by 25 per cent, employing two new female rangers. The program employs a dedicated Women’s Ranger Coordinator, supported by philanthropic contributions, to guide, train and mentor the rangers, creating a welcoming and culturally appropriate workplace.