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Welcome to our eNews

This fortnightly email is to keep you updated on the work of Women with Disabilities Victoria, and updated on news related to our priority areas. Contributions to this eNews are welcome, email

In this Issue:

Brenda Gabe Leadership Award Update


The next WDV Brenda Gabe Leadership Award was scheduled for November 2016. It has been moved from an annual to a biennial event and will now be held in November 2017.  WDV will also be broadening the selection criteria allowing for more women to be involved in the activities which make them terrific potential candidates. Further updates on the Award and the application details will be coming shortly.

If you have any questions, please contact Sharon Granek, Program Manager, Women’s Empowerment Program, 9286 7802.

WDV's advocacy and programs recognised at the Victorian Disability Awards

Women with Disabilities Victoria was announced as the winner of the Award for Excellence in Advocacy and Human Rights at the Victorian Disability Awards. The awards are sponsored by the Vic government and National Disability Services. Congratulations to the other nominees.

A huge thanks to our nominators, Domestic Violence Victoria, Warrnambool City Council and Gateways who are partners in our three areas of work – advocacy, women’s empowerment and workforce development.

IMAGE: WDV representatives receiving a Disability Award from Minister Martin Foley - LEFT to RIGHT: Jen Hargrave, Martin Foley MP, Fofi Christou and Sharon Granek.

Katherine's blog: REAL accounts of a Para's pregnancy

Katherine Reed shares her experiences of pregnancy on her blog, 'Para Pregnancy.' Katherine says, "In 2008 I fell off a horse and broke my back. My first few years post injury were spent playing wheelchair basketball while I essentially figured out what I wanted to do with my life. In 2012 I took a road trip around Australia, which was the start of These Boots Weren't Made for Walking. Now in 2015, I have a whole different type of adventure to document- We are having a baby! In all my online reading in the lead up to now, I've not been able to find any REAL accounts of what to expect as a para having a baby. So ParaPregnancy is what happens when a para with no shame has a baby. I'm going to talk about everything, so you've been warned!"

PHOTO of Katherine Reed from her blog, ParaPregnancy

Invitation from the Minister: NDIS celebration, Preston

Martin Foley MP, Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, invites the community to attend a morning tea in celebration of the NDIS rolling out. The invitation says, 'People that have been working hard for the last three years to make the scheme a reality, will be joining us, including participants from the Barwon Area.'

Friday 1 July 2016
Bell City Ballroom 1, Mantra Bell City
215 Bell Street, Preston
(parking available via Bell or Hotham Streets)
10.00 am – 11.00 am

RSVP: By 5.00 pm Monday 27 June to or call (03) 9096 8047.
Accessibility assistance including Auslan interpreters will be available at this event. Please tell us if you require support.

Your Hospital Experiences: Have your Say! - and news from the Women's Mental Health Network

The way people are treated in hospital can have a strong impact on the outcomes of that admission. Basic humanity and how you are treated by medical, nursing, allied health staff as well as support and administrative staff is paramount.  At this Women's Mental Health Network Forum, women will be invited to share their experiences- both positive and negative - of acute inpatient care. Consumer speakers as well as Network members will facilitate the session and support and care will be available throughout. The Forum is open to any women who identify as women.

DATE: Friday 29th July from 10.30-1.00 pm.
VENUE: 100 Drummond Street, Carlton, Vic 3052

The Network has a new coodinator, Nilmini Fernando (please note this is a correction of information from our last eNews). Nilmini says, "Women need to tell their own stories and insist that the complexities of their lived experiences can only be grasped through authentic collaboration." She can be contacted at 100 Drummond Street. phone 9663 6733.
Got something to say about menstruation? THIS IS THE SURVEY FOR YOU

The Waratah Project questionnaires are designed to gather girl’s and women’s thoughts and feelings on menstruation and menopause. Your input would guide recommendations about what women and girls need. Please take this chance to be a part of creating positive change – questionnaires close 1 August 2016.

The Waratah Project is an initiative of the Victorian Women’s Trust and the Dugdale Trust for Women and Girls, looks at the ways we collectively think about menstruation and menopause, and works to influence society away from old notions of shame and towards more positive and woman-honouring ways of understanding these universal aspects of female experience.

The project challenges existing beliefs, attitudes and practices that are detrimental to the wellbeing of women and girls, and is in the process of conducting extensive research in order to develop and promote a successful contemporary reframing of menstruation and menopause. We are keen to include the experience and particular challenges of girls and women living with disability.

Questionnaire for girls 12-18

Questionnaire for young women 19-30

Questionnaire for women 31-45

Questionnaire for women 46-still menstruating

Questionnaire for women 46 – no longer menstruating

Mental Health taskforce appointed

Nearly half of all Victorians will experience mental illness in their lifetime. Launched in November 2015, Victoria’s 10-year Mental Health Plan focuses on prevention, better integration of services and support and an co-productive approach involving people with a mental illness, their families and carers [see here for more information]. Julie Dempsey and Michelle Swann from the Women's Mental Health Network Victoria have both been appointed to the Mental Health Expert Taskforce that will guide its implementation. Four reference groups will provide advice directly to government and support the work of the Mental Health Expert Taskforce, and Sabin Fernbacher has been appointed to the “Innovation” reference group [read more here]. Content of this piece is from the Women's Mental Health Network's June Newsletter.


Skilled Gender Equality Trainers wanted at Women's Health Victoria

WHV is inviting skilled trainers in the areas of gender equality, the prevention of violence against women and women’s health to apply to join their new ‘facilitator pool’. 

The EOI is open to anyone who may be interested in opportunities to facilitate training on a casual basis, including those from the women's health, health promotion and international development sectors, and independent consultants. Men are also encouraged to apply.
The first round of Expressions of Interest closes on Friday 1 July 2016. For more information is available on the WHV website

Australian Disability Employment Conference

Australia’s Disability Employment Conference is Australasia’s premier conference for managers, aspiring managers, practitioners, and academics working in or with the Disability Employment Services sector. The conference will run in Melbourne in August.
Seminar: Separation to Settlement - Your Options, 25th July

Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (Family Mediator) Elisa Turco will provide information and examine the pros and cons of the following dispute resolution options for divorce and separation.

This free WIRE information session* will help you:
  • Gain an understanding of the dispute resolution models available for people divorcing/ separating
  • For property settlement and/or parenting arrangements: which model is best for you?
  • Identify your next steps forward.
1pm – 3pm Monday 25 July | WIRE 372 Spencer St, West Melbourne - Book online.

For enquiries, call call WIRE 9348 9416 (extension #2) or email
Help shape Victoria's next State Disability Plan

Victoria's next State Disability Plan is being developed and consultations are running. There are a variety of ways you can have direct input.

Mary-Ann Robinson is currently compiling WDV’s Disability State Plan and is happy to respond to any queries.

Keran was asked to be a spokesperson for the State Disability Plan consultation. Some of WDV’s key messages on the State Plan are being circulated by the Victorian Government and MPs around social media.

IMAGE: Keran Howe pictured with text: "Disability discrimination and gender discrimination combine to mean that women with disabilities are disadvantaged in access to employment, sexual and reproductive health and safety from many forms of violence. That is why it is important that women with disabilities have input to this discussion paper on the State Disability Plan."
Life after school Expo


Life After School expo is being held by YDAS at Docklands on 15 September 2016. This expo will support young people to connect and participate in their community by ensuring that they have opportunities to build strong relationships through accessing further education, develop broad professional networks that can assist them to find paid work, and work together with other young people with disabilities who are seeking similarly positive outcomes after school.

The organisers are seeking expressions of interest from speakers with disability who are comfortable sharing experiences about the impact of disability during high school and creative ways to participate in university, gap year and paid and voluntary work

Applications close 22 July 2016.

To request the Expression of Interst Form in another format, or for more information, contact Helen:

Improving 1800Respect for women with a disability - Melbourne consultation

1800Respect and Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) are holding a co-design workshop on 1800Respect's services. Women with disabilities are invited to attend. It will be during the day in Docklands on Tuesday 5th July 2016.

RSVP and enquiries: Cristina Ricci, Phone: 0413 249 385
NB: Places for this Workshop are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. 

A rare, bare celebration of feminism: Theatre review in The Age 

The Age gives 4 stars to Nic Green's play at the North Melbourne Town hall which is on until until June 26 - Reviewed by Cameron Woodhead:
"Nic Green's Trilogy is a vibrant and vigorous celebration of women and feminism. It so stirred the opening night audience a large number of its female members strode onstage, ripped off their clothes and, as a climactic act of solidarity, sang a rousing rendition of Jerusalem in the nude.

Nudity as a feminist act has become more problematic since Trilogy was first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009. Any woman can flash her tits on social media and name it feminism instead of narcissism. This is different. Trilogy offers depth and context; it strips away the male gaze before a single item of apparel is removed. 
It first delves into women's relationships with their bodies. A video of performers Nic Green and Laura Bradshaw rifling through women's magazines transforms into satirical live dance: all boob tubes and hot pants, shimmying and booty shakes.

Clothes fly off and the choreography swirls into a more expressive and unselfconscious style. The section ends with scores of women, of all shapes and sizes, dancing nude in unison, free to wobble as they will.
The experience is pure joy – an assertion of women's bodies as powerful subjects, rather than passive objects of desire.

The second part hinges on Town Bloody Hall, the 1971 debate about women's liberation in New York, featuring the eloquent Germaine Greer, loose cannon Jill Johnston firing live ammunition (and live comedy), and the cringe-worthy misogyny of Norman Mailer "moderating" the panel.

Excerpts are shown, and they're compelling viewing. We're forced to reflect on what feminist has lost and won, what has and hasn't changed.

The screenings are spliced with anecdotes from the performers – including one man, Murray Wason​, and two local artists, Candy Bowers and Bron Batten – illuminating how gender norms shape personal experience. Facts about the town hall showdown are (a little long-windedly) spelt out, as if at risk of being forgotten or erased. There's more nude dance.

The final act addresses the forgotten "herstory" of William Blake's Jerusalem, usually thought of as an anthem for war veterans and all-male private schools. In fact, it was the official song of the suffragette movement, its copyright owned by women's groups for 40 years.

Hideous statistics on violence against women are followed by a call to individual action, empowerment, hope. An elegant duet captures the beauty of women in motion, and a live phone conversation with Green's mother testifies to the ease with which feminist ideals can be eroded.

There's the odd longueur, but its intellectual and aesthetic rigour, offbeat sense of humour and power to inspire, make Trilogy a rare feat of feminist art.  

IMAGE: From The Age by Byrony Jackson

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