Management and Staff

WWDA Management Committee. Six women standing and one woman sitting in motorised wheelchair. All are smiling.

Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) is managed by a National Management Committee, which is elected each year at the Annual General Meeting. All committee members are women with disability. The WWDA National Secretariat is managed on a day to day basis by an Executive Director, who reports directly to the National Management Committee. WWDA Management Committee members and WWDA staff are detailed below.


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS


 Iva Strnadová

President – Dr Iva Strnadová

Dr. Iva Strnadová is an Associate Professor in Special Education at the University of New South Wales Sydney, School of Education. Her research aims to contribute to a better understanding and the improvement of life experiences of people with disabilities.

Overall, she has authored 143 publications across all publication categories. She has been awarded over 30 competitive grants (either as Lead Chief Investigator or as Co-Chief Investigator) in Australia and Europe. Prior to her academic career, Iva worked for 7 years with adults with intellectual disabilities and with autism. Her ongoing research interests include transitions in lives of people with disabilities, women with intellectual disabilities, across the lifespan experiences of families caring for a child with a disability, the wellbeing of people with intellectual disabilities and autism, inclusive research, and mobile technology. Her research and advocacy in the area of intellectual disabilities, self-determination, and inclusive research was acknowledged by Self Advocacy Sydney’s “2017 J. Moss Award” in 2017. This award is awarded to a person “who has done outstanding work in the field of intellectual disability”


Fiona Strahan

Vice President – Fiona Strahan

I’ve been involved in different ways with human rights for most of my life – I started with women’s rights as a student and not long after, was handing out leaflets at Miss Australia Quest fundraisers and speaking outside Parliament House about cuts to home care. I had fantastic disabled women and men mentors, and I have revelled in, and been supported in different ways by our rights movements. The first mention of the social model liberated me and sat well with my gender, class and race analysis of oppression.

I’ve been on the WWDA Management Committee before and involved and worked for Victorian Women with Disabilities Network (VWDN). As Executive Officer of STAR Victorian Action on Intellectual Disability, we led the way on issues around sterilisation of disabled girls and women. I also had the privilege of representing WWDA at the UN 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing.

In 1997 I completed research for WWDA on violence against disabled women and access to women’s domestic violence services. This work, along with work undertaken by Carolyn, won a number of violence prevention and human rights awards. Recently, I began research on disability, climate change and refugees, and presented this at the 2015 Society for Disability Studies Conference. This is a huge issue for all of us.

Most recently I have been teaching and coordinating Certificate III in Individual Support and right now I’m at SpeakOut which I love. It’s wonderful to be at the coalface of justice, equality with solidarity.

It’s lovely to be back, lots of new faces and perspectives, as we work for justice and equality for all disabled women and girls.


Pamela Menere

Treasurer – Pamela Menere

Pamela lives in Corryong in North East Victoria and has been involved with WWDA for many years, having held positions of Secretary and Treasurer of the Management Committee. Pamela has been involved with several advocacy and disability related groups including the Victorian Women with Disabilities Network, Towong Shire Community Access Committee and the Hume Region DHS Disability Advisory Committee. Pamela is also actively involved with numerous other community organisations in her local area. She has worked in part time paid employment as an outreach employment counsellor with a disability employment agency.


COMMITTEE MEMBERS


Karin Swift

Karin Swift

Karin has worked in a wide variety of roles in both community and government settings, across a number of key areas including: women’s issues, advocacy, disability, housing, mental health, futures planning and tertiary education. Karin is currently employed as a Project Officer at Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN).

Karin has presented nationally and internationally on key gender and human rights issues on behalf of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), including speaking at the 1st International Conference: One Decade after the UNCRPD and Women and Girls with Disabilities in Seoul, South Korea in 2016, and representing the Australian Government at the United Nations, New York at the Commission on the Status of Women in 2013, and co-delivering training with the Australian Human Rights Commission to women with disabilities and other stakeholders in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2012. Karin currently serves as a Board member of Ending Violence Against Women Queensland (EVAQ) and Secretary of AMPARO Advocacy.

Karin is a former President and Vice President of WWDA.


Jess White

Jess White

Jess has worked in government and not-for-profit roles with degrees in social sciences and law. Currently based in Canberra, she is passionate about equity, inclusion, gardening and legal research.


Monique Crowden

Monique Crowden

Hi this is Monique Crowden. I am the President of Speak Out Tasmania. I am a part of WWDA. I volunteer with Girl Guides 7 to 10 year old girls age group. I have been a mentor. I help with the local breakfast club at the high shool. I am very passionate about working with young girls with disability. I am very passionate about inclusion. I have loved being a part of a recent project with WWDA and 1800RESPECT making an app for woman and girls with disability going through violence & abuse.


Cherohn Rule

Cherohn Rule

Cherohn is an active member of Women With Disabilities Australia, volunteering for data entry and various other tasks as required. Cherohn has lived experience as a woman with disabilities and she also has the experience of being a sister to and daughter of women with disabilities. She identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA community and believes we are all born free and equal. Cherohn believes the world would be a better place if all nations put into action the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Women. She says. “We are as much a person as any man and should have the same opportunities rights and responsibilities.”


STAFF


Carolyn Frohmader

Carolyn Frohmader

Executive Director

Carolyn Frohmader is the Executive Director of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and has held this position for more than 20 years, working at the national and international levels to promote and protect the human rights of women and girls with disabilities. Under Carolyn’s leadership, WWDA has received a number of prestigious awards for its ground-breaking work including the National Human Rights Award and a number of national and state violence prevention awards. Carolyn also has an extensive background in women’s health, health policy, primary health care and community development.

Carolyn has a Masters Degree from Flinders University where she won the inaugural Michael Crotty Award for an outstanding contribution in Primary Health Care. In 2001, Carolyn received the ACT Woman of the Year Award in recognition of her contribution to the promotion of women’s rights in the ACT. In 2009, in recognition of her human rights work, she was inducted into the Tasmanian Women’s Honour Roll, joining her late mother Wendy, who was posthumously inducted into the Roll in 2008 for services to education. In late 2009, Carolyn was selected as a Tasmanian finalist for the Australian of the Year Awards (Tasmania). On International Human Rights Day, in December 2013, Carolyn was announced as the winner of the National Human Rights Award [Individual] for her work for and with women and girls with disabilities at the national and international levels. Carolyn is based in Hobart, Tasmania.


Christopher Brophy

Christopher Brophy

Director Strategic Policy & Communications

Chris has worked for WWDA for a number of years in a policy and communications role. Chris contributes his knowledge, skills and experience to the policy, research, and systemic advocacy work that WWDA undertakes. He also undertakes work for WWDA as a member of Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia), manages WWDA’s online and socials presence, and designs WWDA’s publications and graphics. He is a qualified Social Worker and has experience across the disability, academic and LGBTI sectors. Chris is based in Brunswick, Victoria.


Cashelle Dunn

Cashelle Dunn

Project Officer; Manager WWDA Youth Network

Having previously worked in a range of vocations, and studying in New York for two years, Cashelle is currently completing a degree in Human Rights at Monash University and is residing in Melbourne. She experiences epilepsy and psychosocial disabilities and has been dealing with them since 13 years of age. An active member of several women’s and disability organisations in Victoria, Cashelle was proud to initially represent WWDA at the 2014 United Nations Seventh Session COSP to the CRPD in New York as part of the Australian Youth Delegation.

In late 2014, Cashelle represented WWDA as part of the Civil Society Delegation for the United Nations CAT Review of Australia in Geneva. Fiercely passionate about the rights of women with disabilities, particularly young women and girls, Cashelle looks forward to initiating the WWDA Youth Network in 2015. She plans to continue to acquire knowledge, raise awareness, and advocate for equality. Cashelle is based in Melbourne, Victoria.