Role of Indigenous women in local communities in Cape York

Centre for Appropriate Technology Discussion General discussion Role of Indigenous women in local communities in Cape York

  • This topic has 4 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by Lily Luu.
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  • #2496
    Lily Luu
    Participant

    Hi there,

    I would like to know more about the role of Indigenous women in local communities in Cape York. Do they assume the same jobs or work as the men in their communities? Are they mostly responsible for housework or chores? Are Indigenous women held at the same regard as their male counterpart in their communities?

    Thank you for your time and I’d appreciate any form of help!

    #2504
    Rachel Alford
    Keymaster

    Hi Lily,

    Great question, and great to see you considering the community in your design!

    The role of Aboriginal women in communities in Cape York is very context dependent and varies between communities and between households. Generally speaking, women do take on the majority of domestic work and other tasks which support the functioning of a family, whether this be housework, childcare or employment. In saying that, however, there are also some examples from men taking on some of these roles, such as caring for children. Women are also known to take on the same paid jobs as men, such as in the ranger program.

    As this is quite general information, if you could let me know which design area you are working on and how you are considering women in this I might be able to provide a more specific answer to your question.

    In the meantime, I recommend taking a look at some of our resources such as Stories from Cape York and Local Voices. While these don’t explicitly answer your questions, they do show women participating in their communities which could help to shape your understanding.

    Thanks,
    Rachel

    #2515
    Lily Luu
    Participant

    Hi Rachel,

    My project is number 6.2 and we’re trying to design a clothes washing system. I want to take into account the needs and concerns of Indigenous women when they’re using the system and it’s crucial that I identify who the main users of the system will be. Without a convenient and time-efficient washing machine, women and men in the communities will face a lot of time being lost to washing clothes. If women are able to spend a lot of time on housework then hopefully a system that is less time-efficient but more environmentally-friendly might be suitable, however, if they are busy with not only childcare but also employment it is pertinent that the system saves them both time and energy.

    These are my assumptions about the women in the communities so if you are able to clarify some points I’d very much appreciate it! Thanks for your time.

    Lily

    #2526
    Rachel Alford
    Keymaster

    Hi Lily,

    It’s really great to see you thinking so deeply about who your end users might be and ensuring that your design is appropriate for them! I’ll try to answer your queries with as much information as I can.

    In general, it is most likely that women in Cape York are taking on the majority of the washing and therefore will likely be the main user of your design.

    With that in mind, as outlined in my previous response, the roles and responsibilities of women vary throughout the Cape York context, and therefore we are unable to definitively say how much time is available for housework vs employment as there is not one ‘average user’ per se. I recommend taking a look at the 2016 census data for Cape York (linked in the ‘Tips for Getting Started’ page) which will give you an insight into the demographic make up of Cape York, including percentages of people working, the hours spent doing unpaid labour (eg housework), household composition etc. which can help frame your system users.

    With that in mind, it would be worth designing your system so that it is appropriate for a variety of users, including those who may be working. I would also challenge your assumption that if a user is not in paid employment then a less efficient model might be suitable – as unpaid labour disproportionately falls onto women, a more time consuming washing process may add to their burden and could discourage uptake.

    Ultimately there’s likely to be some trade-offs in your design that you will have to weigh up, decide on and justify in your report. For example, if you have a system which is less time-efficient but is cheaper for your end user you may decide that trade-off is justifiable.

    I hope this helps to clarify some of your queries and assumptions!

    Rachel

    #2587
    Lily Luu
    Participant

    Hi Rachel,

    That definitely helped a lot! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.

    I hope you have a good rest of your day!

    Lily Luu

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