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We are an organisation of women with disabilities in Victoria with a diverse and growing membership. Our members have a range of disabilities, backgrounds, lifestyles and ages.
A world where all women are respected and can fully experience life.
To advance real social and economic inclusion for women with disabilities in Victoria, we will:
- Be a voice for women with disabilities
- Create opportunities for women with disabilities to be visible and to be heard in their communities
- Build partnerships to deliver the best results for women with disabilties
- Engage the community to challenge attitudes and myths about women with disabilities.
Our values uphold human rights and social justice.
- Equal Opportunity
- Work with our members' experiences as women with disabilities
- Provide specialist policy advice and representation to government
- Create opportunities for women with disabilities to realise their leadership and advocacy potential
- Adopt a collaborative approach to government and community organisations
- Build the evidence base to develop and share knowledge and resources to inform best practice
- Monitor our work and report on outcomes.
Our goals and priorities
Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV) is an organisation of women with disabilities for women with disabilities.
WDV recognises that women with disabilities are among the most marginalised in our community and empowers women with disabilities to achieve their rights in Victoria.
We focus on those areas where gender inequity and/or disability have the biggest impact on the capacity of women with disabilities to be respected and to fully experience life.
- Influence policy: Influence government and the community to recognize and remove barriers to full participation by women with disabilities
- Empower women: Engage and empower women with disabilities to lead and influence their communities
- Influence services: Educate and build the capacity of service systems and organisations to be accessible to women with disabilities.
- Violence: Prevent and respond to violence and abuse against women with disabilities
- NDIS: Work to make the NDIS relevant and responsive to women with disabilities and empower women to engage with the new system
- Health: Promote access to health services for women with disabilities.
In focusing on our priority areas, we will respond to the social determinants of health for women with disabilities, promoting access to housing and employment for women with disabilities through our representation and policy work.
Guided by our members, we will wherever possible respond to new and emerging issues to stay relevant and reflect the concerns of women with disabilities.
- Members: Build and support our membership base.
- Organisation: Ensure Women with Disabilities Victoria is a strong, vibrant and sustainable organisation
- Relationships: Raise and maintain the profile of Women with Disabilities Victoria to share knowledge with key stakeholders and communities.
Our Strategic Plan 2017-20
Our plan is available in the formats below:
- Online version (PDF)
- Booklet format (PDF)
- Plain language version (PDF)
- Large print version (PDF)
- Text only version (Word)
- Plain language large print version (PDF)
Our risk statement
Women with Disabilities Victoria seeks opportunities for innovative approaches to achieving our mission and goals. We value taking measured risks in exploring new strategies and we are committed to being innovative in the way we do our work in research, community education, leadership and advocacy. In doing so, our goal is to work effectively to improve the outcomes for women with disabilities in Victoria and to ensure the sustainability of the organisation.
We are averse to risks related to legislative compliance, financial management and occupational health and safety and seek to mitigate such risks in all our activities. Our governance and operational policies and processes guide the mitigation of such risks.
‘Why do we need an organisation that focuses solely on the needs of women with disabilities?’
Women with disabilities are amongst the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in the world and are less likely to be educated, employed and well-housed than almost any other member of the community.
Women with disabilities are less likely than women without disabilities to receive appropriate health services, particularly breast and cervical cancer screening programs, bone density testing, menopause and incontinence management.
Women with disabilities are more likely to have their human rights abused than women without disabilities or men with disabilities. Girls and women with disabilities are more likely to be unlawfully sterilised than their male counterparts. Between 1992 and 1997 at least 1045 girls with disabilities in Australia were unlawfully sterilised. Comparisons with other data sources suggest that the true number is much greater.
Women with disabilities, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or class are assaulted, raped and abused at a rate of at least two times greater than non-disabled women. Statistics indicate that 90% of women with intellectual disabilities have been sexually abused. 68% of women with an intellectual disability will be subjected to sexual abuse before they reach 18.
That’s why we need Women with Disabilities Victoria.
Extract from our publication Women with Disabilities Victoria: Claiming Our Future
Women with Disabilities Victoria began as an informal network of volunteers that, in 1994, met regularly on the first Saturday of every month to discuss the needs of women with disabilities and to develop strategies to advance their interests. Today we are a fully incorporated, not for profit association governed by a Board of Directors that employs eight staff.
In 2010, the name of the organisation was changed from the Victorian Women with Disabilities Network to Women with Disabilities Victoria.
Our Board is elected by our members and is responsible for the strategic direction of the organisation. Board Directors are appointed for a two year term at the Annual General Meeting.
Current Board Members
- Marija Groen (Co-Chair)
- Ann-Marie Baker (Co-Chair)
- Angela Fitzpatrick
- Esperanza Torres (Co-Vice-Chair)
- Binda Gokhale (Treasurer)
- Saphron Hastie (Co-Vice-Chair)
- Sonja Ilievska
- Val Johnstone
- Catherine Brooks
- Hillary Fisher
Women with Disabilities Victoria currently has almost 300 members, the vast majority of whom are women with disabilities who reside in Victoria. Associate Membership is open to both individuals and to organisations who share our aims. If you would like more information about membership, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
See our Contact Us page for individual staff information and contact details.
Our Constitution contains the rules of governance for the organisation.
WDV Constitution - 16 April 2015 (PDF)
Our Annual Reports outline the major developments and achievements of the previous financial year.
Our policies are in the process of being updated.