In Arnhem Land, ranger programs have initially focused on controlling feral species and wildfire, which are activities largely undertaken by men, leading to a significant underrepresentation of women in ranger workforces. Women have a number of integral roles and responsibilities in Indigenous land management. Without skilled and supported women’s ranger teams, Country will not be managed properly, women’s in-depth ecological knowledge will be threatened and species will be at greater risk of extinction.
In 2016 KKT partnered with Warddeken to establish a Daluk Ranger Program, creating employment opportunities for women based on remote outstations. This program provides a capable and motivated workforce for cultural and environmental conservation projects in this unique part of the world, and is an avenue by which traditional knowledge can be used and passed to the next generation of land custodians.
Since it was first established at Kabulwarnamyo Outstation, the Daluk Ranger Program has successfully seen a dramatic increase in daluk engagement. In the first year, hours worked by women had increased from 18% to 40% of all hours worked across the broader ranger program. Learning from our experience, and adapting for the future, we are now aiming to increase this program to include the three outstation ranger bases within the Warddeken IPA.
KKT first partnered with Mimal in 2018 to support and encourage women to take a central role in managing their Country, while increasing equality within Mimal’s workforce.
The program employs a dedicated Women’s Ranger Coordinator to support and mentor the women rangers, creating a culturally appropriate and welcoming workplace for women. The Women’s Ranger program provides meaningful training and employment, and contributes to sustainable livelihoods on Country.
Since establishment, the program has grown from six to eight rangers, who have undertaken a variety of training and learning opportunities throughout the course of their work, including working closely with Charles Darwin University as part of the Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management. The conservation projects the women rangers are working on include fauna trapping, fire management and waterway rehabilitation.