Date of Submission



This research focuses on deepening our understanding about Indigenous women’s participation in contemporary Australian society by exploring their experiences in employment, careers, education and leadership. Since the purpose of this study is to explore how university education Indigenous women understand and make sense of it of their career journeys, the epistemological framework of the research is constructionism using an interpretivist approach. The particular interprevetivist perspective used is symbolic interactionism, but the research has also been guided philosophically by the Indigenous worldview and emerging Indigenous research methodologies which assert the right of Indigenous people to research in their own way. The methodology adopted is a case study approach in keeping with the aim of the study. Data was collected by in-depth interviews to build the women’s stories, focus groups, and researcher’s journal. Throughout the study, there was a strong emphasis on observing ethical guidelines for research on and with Indigenous people. The research design aimed to honour cultural dimensions such as Indigenous knowledge, ways of knowing and culturally appropriate data gathering techniques. The study found that Indigenous women are deeply committed to their personal and professional growth. However there are enormous barriers, both personal and institutional, to their success. Vestiges of colonialism such as racism, sexism, socio-economic and educational disadvantage remain entrenched in contemporary Australian society. Despite these obstacles, Indigenous women through their strength, resilience and determination, strive to make better lives for themselves, their families and communities. Their stories are significant in that they offer important insights into how Indigenous women can be supported on their career journeys.


School of Educational Leadership

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


327 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Faculty of Education