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The first recorded Aboriginal person to graduate with an undergraduate qualification from any Australian university was Aboriginal woman Margaret Williams-Weir in 1959 (Melbourne University, 2018). Williams-Weir graduated with a Diploma in Education. There have now been six decades of graduating Indigenous Australian women in the discipline of education, and many other disciplines. In this article, we explore Indigenous women’s presence in higher education through the narratives of our lives as Aboriginal women within education and the lives of other Indigenous women, noting their achievements and challenges. We acknowledge that while the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women participating in university study and becoming engaged in education as a discipline at undergraduate and postgraduate levels has increased, we are still significantly underrepresented. Similarly, while we have seen increases in Indigenous university staff within the education discipline, the employment of Indigenous academics has not reached parity with non-Indigenous academics levels and too few are employed in the professoriate and in senior management positions. We will show how we would not have been able to develop our education careers within higher education without the bridges built by those like Dr Williams-Weir and others who went before us. We will share how we have worked to establish the footings for those Indigenous women who will follow us and others. In this way, we work within the context that is for the now and the future.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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