Tangentyere Council’s ‘Boys Can Girls Can’ campaign aims to save women’s lives

Robert Hundley

“Women can be courageous!”, “Boys can costume up and dance!” and “Ladies can enjoy footy!”. 

They may well seem straightforward ample, but for researcher Chay Brown and the other authors of these phrases, these mantras and some others like them deal with an really advanced issue. 

Indigenous women of all ages in the Northern Territory working experience the greatest costs of violence victimisation in the earth and are hospitalised for assault at 40 times the price of non-Indigenous women of all ages in Australia. 

These phrases and the cartoons accompanying them — which also adorn T-shirts, posters and merchandise — aim to adjust those statistics by means of campaigns to endorse gender equality.

The Equality Institute has analyzed the effects of two messaging strategies by Tangentyere Council Aboriginal Corporation and, in its report on the campaigns, found they helped to dismantle tips about gender roles.

A women with crinkly grey hair and a green top, smiling
Guide researcher Chay Brown explained the venture created the circumstance for far more principal prevention packages to be funded in the Northern Territory.(ABC Alice Springs: Samantha Jonscher)

Surveys of mainly Indigenous city camp citizens, who were being questioned at the start out of the challenge and yet again a yr later, found attitudes shifted above that time on topics this sort of as who should cook dinner dinner and whose obligation it was to elevate little ones. 

“I seriously want folks to choose absent from this that what labored about the Ladies Can Boys Can project, in unique, was the truly express direct messaging,”  Dr Brown explained. 

While unstudied, the Ladies Can Boys Can and Aged Means are Strong project followed a comparable Tangentyere project from 2018 — Mums Can Dads Can — which group members say has also altered people’s attitudes. 

A cartoon poster of an Indigenous women with a raised fist and words about strength and respect
Main avoidance aims to change the social attitudes that guide to family and domestic violence. (Supplied: Tangentyere Council)

Make improvements to gender fairness, reduce violence in opposition to women

Dr Brown said investigation showed that violence in opposition to women was directly linked to gender inequality and, in Indigenous communities, the long lasting legacy of colonisation. 

The venture is an example of principal avoidance, which aims to stop violence prior to it starts, by dismantling the attitudes that lead to violent behaviour. 

Ladies Can Boys Can sought to not only enhance tips close to gender, but also develop optimistic representations of Indigenous communities that however encounter the ongoing consequences of colonisation. 


2019 NT Local Hero Shirleen Campbell from Tangentyere Women’s Family Security Team was instrumental in the task. 

A proud city camper, Ms Campbell claimed the challenge was profitable for the reason that it made culturally correct messages that “genuinely resonated with Alice Springs, town camps and central Australian communities” and understood that violence “stemmed from colonisation”.

Marly Wells from Connected Beginnings also worked on the venture and stated it was “gorgeous” to see the gender equality messaging in her neighborhood. 

“The strength-based mostly messaging that sticks definitely constructive and exhibits, especially Aboriginal young children, in a way that they’re not generally represented, has produced a genuine distinction to people today,” she explained. 

A  young Aboriginal woman with plaited hair, smiling broadly
Marly Wells, who worked on the undertaking, says it was “gorgeous” to see positive representations of her community.(ABC Alice Springs: Samantha Jonscher)

Frontline workers swamped by desire

This was the to start with examine of a primary avoidance project in the Northern Territory, and one of the first in Australia, that was established in an Indigenous context. 

The report identified not only that Girls Can Boys Can was helpful, but that there was also no committed primary avoidance workforce in the NT.

Dr Brown claimed primary prevention — the intricate small business of shifting attitudes — fell to frontline personnel who experienced to offer day-in and working day-out with girls suffering from crises.  

A cartoon poster with indigenous children with Girls Can Boys Can messages
 There is no funded most important prevention workforce in the NT. (Equipped: Tangentyere Council)

“That is the predicament that men and women working in domestic, family members and sexual violence in the Northern Territory are in.”

The report identified frontline employees described large prices of burn out, vicarious trauma and felt undervalued. 

The report calls on governments to particularly fund primary prevention packages. 

Chansey Paech, the Minister for Distant Housing and Town Camps,  praised the venture and it is findings. 

He reported the “highlight’ was that the report was evidence-dependent. 

“This is what governments need to have to do … to abide by the study.”

The Girls Can Boys Can marketing campaign has not been re-funded by the Northern Territory governing administration.

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