Issue 7, August 1994

We have had a name change!!! The National Women’s Network for Women with a Disability is now known as Women With Disabilities Australia. Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) is a group of women from throughout Australia who have something in common. We all have a disability. WWDA began in 1985 as a women’s group within Disabled Peoples’ International (Australia). This group grew and evolved to form Women With Disabilities Australia.

In This Edition

What is Women With Disabilities Australia?

Letter From the Coordinator – Rae Hurrell

Profiles of the Members of the WWDA Steering Committee

The National Advocacy Workshop

Disability, Women and Love – by Junka Asaka

Profile – Jenny Heckendorf

Forum on Access for Women with Disabilities to Emergency Accommodation

World Assembly – by Rae Hurrell

Interview With Senator Rosemary Crowley

The Environment Committee

Report from the International Committee

The Disability Services Aboriginal Corporation

The United Nations Women’s Conference, Beijing

Around the States Events


What is Women With Disabilities Australia?

Women With Disabilities – Australia WWDA is a group of women from throughout Australia who have something in common. We all have a disability. WWDA began in 1985 as a women’s group within Disabled Peoples’ International (Australia). Eventually this group became strong enough to form Women With Disabilities – Australia.

WWDA is an organisation which seeks to ensure equal opportunities in all walks of life for all women with disabilities. In this it aims to increase awareness of, and address issues faced by, women with disabilities in the community.

Why do we need WWDA?
Throughout time women have been subjected to discrimination. Women with disabilities have faced even greater discrimination and have until recently had to face those challenges on their own. For a woman, there may be discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status or pregnancy in the areas of work, accommodation, education etc.. Women with disabilities have to face these as well as discrimination as a person with a disability. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (1988) revealed that women with disabilities are more often institutionalized, less likely to work for money, less likely to own a house, and less likely to receive requested personal care and household assistance than equivalent males. WWDA is an opportunity to work together as women with disabilities to build confidence, self esteem and positive expectations about life’s goals.

The Organisation
Women With Disabilities – Australia currently has a membership exceeding 600 women and organisations. At present there is a Steering Committee of 12 women, with each state and Territory represented, who are responsible for the direction of the Organisation. WWDA has strong historical ties to DPI and continues to be assisted by them in many ways.

WWDA is funded by the Office of Status of Woman as the only Organisation to represent women with disabilities in the women’s arena. With this comes the responsibility of responding to material provided by the Office of Status of Women, and highlighting disability issues within the women’s movement.

What are some of WWDA’s Objectives

  • To promote the feminist goals of achieving social, economic, educational and sexual equality for women.
  • To change social attitudes, practices, and power relationships which discriminate against women with disabilities.
  • To lobby for the implementation of procedures and enactment of legislation which will advance and benefit women and combat sexism.
  • To inform and educate the public with a view to advancing the opportunities for conditions of women in the political, creative, civil and social fields as well as in industry, commerce, the professions and in the community generally.
  • To develop a network of women with disabilities throughout Australia: to work together for the mutual benefits of all women with disabilities.
  • To advocate for women with disabilities true involvement in all levels of society.
  • To develop leadership and sharing of responsibilities to enable women with disabilities to take their place in what ever section of society they choose.

Letter from the Coordinator – by Rae Hurrell

This is indeed an exciting time for women with disabilities. We are entering the count down period to the World Assembly of DPI to be held in Sydney from December 3rd to 9th and you can read more about it in this newsletter. We are also just over twelve months away from the UN Conference on Women which will be held in Beijing in September 1995. It is ten years since the last UN Women’s conference which was held in Nairobi in Africa.

Now is the time for us to put the issue of women with disabilities firmly on the agendas of both the World Disability Right’s Movement and the World Women’s Movement. Often women with disabilities feel that they are out on a limb. They feel that they are not totally accepted in the male dominated Disability Right’s Movement and are also not completely integrated into the Women’s Movement.

We now have the perfect opportunity to make our presence felt on the international arena in Sydney and Beijing. Women with Disabilities must no longer be content to sit and watch from the sidelines. We must expect and demand that we be given full and total participation in both the Disability Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement. The time of watching from the sidelines is over now. We will leave the sidelines and take in the centre of action demanding equal rights with our peers. In the Asia/Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons let this show the way to the rest of the world both in the disability area and the women’s area. Let us show them what total integration is all about.

Profiles of the Members of the WWDA Steering Committee

Terry Fletcher

Terry had polio as a child and has an ambulant disability. After 14 months of complete immobilization in hospital she returned home to “convalesce”. After another year of rest, she returned to school and had physio weekly till at the age of 18 when she rebelled. Terry completed an Arts Degree and Dip Ed as a private student because the medical authorities refused to allow her to take up the Teacher’s College Scholarship which she had earned. She taught in high schools throughout NSW and worked as a researcher with ABC’s TV This Day Tonight which gave her many insights into the negative way the media regards people with disabilities. In 1981 she became involved in the disability rights movement. She worked as Policy officer for People with Disabilities NSW and helped establish the NSW Post Polio Network. Terry also worked in TAFE developing policies to support students with physical disabilities in Colleges. She believes that community acceptance of people with disabilities depends on people understanding disability and in 1992 she set up a consultancy called Disability Awareness. She develops training programs to educate the community about disability.

Terry chaired the inaugural NSW Disability Services Advisory Committee and was a member of the Disability Advisory Committee Council of Australia. She is currently a member of the NSW Disability Council where she advocates on issues that effect women with disabilities. She is committed to working to ensure that women with disabilities have equal access to all community services and has a special interest in women with disabilities who are ageing.

Kathy Licciardo

Kathy was born with Spina Bifida and uses a wheelchair to get around. She went to a special school and then spent 7 years in a sheltered workshop going slowly insane.

These days she lives independently and is very involved in the disability rights movement at a grassroots level. She is Victoria’s representative on the DPI(A) National Council, the Vice Chairperson of the Disability Resources Centre and a founding member of the Victorian Women with Disabilities Network.

She is pleased to be a member of a national group for women with disabilities as she believes it is very important for women with disabilities from across Australia and indeed across the world to discuss issues that concern them and also have the chance to form strong bonds of friendship and support.

Joan Hume

Joan Hume sustained quadriplegia from a car accident in 1971 when working as a high school teacher in Sydney. She returned to teaching after hospitalization and after a fight with the NSW Department of Education to retain her job, (years before EEO policies and Anti-Discrimination Laws!!) and became the first teacher in the NSW state school system in a wheelchair.

Joan’s pugnacious spirit embroiled her in many more fights over the years for the recognition of equality of people with disabilities. Through her long involvement with the Australian Quadriplegic Association as former board member, board chairperson, editor of Quad Wrangle and with Disabled Peoples’ International as a founding member and previous NSW President, Joan has served on numerous government and community committees and has a respected reputation as an activist, passionate advocate and writer. She has worked for the NSW IYDP Secretariat, in equal employment opportunity and as a Senior Policy Advisor on physical disability with the NSW Department of Health.

In 1982 Joan was awarded an O.A.M. for her services to people with disability and in 1991 received a Human Rights Award for her writing. She now works in TAFE as a disability teacher/consultant and is the editor of the newsletter for Women With Disabilities.

Di Palmer

Di has been a member of all the women’s representative groups developed in conjunction with DPI(A). She was an office bearer for many years in the ACT Branch of Disabled People’s International. During that time she was instrumental in guaranteeing that the university in the ACT developed a EEO policy for students with disabilities.

Di is blind and has had five guide dogs over a period of about thirty years and she believes the confidence given to a person accompanied by a guide dog when undertaking independent travel is greater than that gained from any other mobility aid.

She works at the Office of the Status of Women and is interested in reading, music, undertaking new types of recreation and promoting the interests of all people with disabilities. In particular she would like to see women with disabilities involved in the activities of the mainstream movement. There are scarcely any of the foremost books on and by women available in alternative format – Braille or audio cassette. In addition women with disabilities are not asked to present the number of programs on ‘The Coming Out Show’ commensurate with their percentage in the population. When there is a program the content does not convince a discerning listener that the subject matter is chosen by women with disabilities.

Di has been a member of D.S.A.C. as well as being the disability representative on a number of Territory Government committees.

The National Advocacy Workshop

I attended the National Advocacy Workshop hosted by the Department of Human Services and Health, in Sydney in early June as a representative of Women With Disabilities – Australia. The aim of the conference was to agree to a set of commonly agreed to principles of advocacy; strategies for achieving these principles; and a set of measures that might be used to determine when these principles are being met. We finished the first objective (developing a set of principles), with a bare 15 minutes of the conference remaining.

The principles that received endorsement, albeit in many ways by default, are as follows:

  • Advocacy is/must strive to be independent and autonomous on the side of the disadvantagd party
  • All advocacy must minimize conflict of interest
  • Advocacy must aim to achieve justice
  • Advocacy is distinct from service delivery
  • Advocacy must remain loyal and accountable to the disadvantaged party over the long term, where necessary
  • Advocacy must focus on the fundamental human needs and / or rights and interests of people or persons. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is one possible basis (for determining what those fundamental rights might be)
  • Advocacy is not services provision or personal care support.

Having “grown up” in the self-advocacy movement, I found the relative absence of self-advocates, and advocates with a disability, somewhat disconcerting. There were strong representations by parent and citizen advocates. I appreciate and admire their passion and zeal, but I had personal difficulties with their tendency to orientate advocacy only towards the most disadvantaged and most disempowered, leaving me feeling that my views as an articulate woman with a disability were at times discounted.

I found the conference a useful forum for challenging and refining my own ideas about advocacy, and about where feminism might contribute to disability advocacy. Shortly after returning, I found the following statement on an Internet discussion group which says a lot to me about advocacy.

“I know that I am an outlaw – being an outlaw, though, is not the same as being a warrior, I have choices to make every day about being a warrior- and when I make those choices, about what weapon to use. I try to use the right ones – I try to take the right chances and make the right choices of my time, energy and resources. Sometimes I do okay – sometimes I fail in discernment, or timing, or courage. All this time battling over the “right” tactic is a distraction – what matters is that we act. Every movement, every gift, is another step taken against injustice – which itself has many aspects and so itself is vulnerable on many fronts. Sylvie”

by Melissa Madsen (with thanks to David Morell CAPSA Disability Action)

Disability, Women and Love – by Junka Asaka

It is the most natural thing in the world for a human being to love someone. It springs from the most basic human instinct of all – preservation of the species. However, for me, being physically disabled, loving someone was always fraught with great fear and pain. Nevertheless I couldn’t deny my natural emotions and have loved many men since I was young. It took me along time to learn to express my own feelings and live naturally without fear and also to have confidence in being loved myself. Now I have been in love with my boyfriend for nearly three years and realise, if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anybody else.

When I think about my past life, I realise I was negatively viewed from the moment I was born; “What a pity!”, “How can she be happy with that body?”, “You should never have been born”. As I grew up I completely lost my self -confidence and couldn’t love myself at all. When I was twenty years old I became involved with a group of disabled people who were trying to live independent lives.

The ten years following I struggled to work through the deep sexual problems I had accumulated through the lack of recognition of myself as a sexual being while growing up. Almost all people with disabilities are confronted with this problem. Many of us develop personality scars because of never having been acknowledged as a true man or woman. We therefore build up great illusions in our minds about marriage and male and female roles.

My Disability
I was born with a bone malfunction which was characterized by stunted growth and bone fragility. It is a very rare condition and so far, neither cure nor treatment has been discovered. I have had more than twenty bone fractures and subsequent operations. I spent one-fifth of my life in bed wearing a plaster cast up to my chest, during my primary school period. I find it difficult to describe the harshness, both in words and actions, of the doctors who treated me during this time. These awful experiences have left their mark on me.

I am now involved in “co-counseling”, a form of peer counseling and therapy which attempts to clear blocked emotions through reliving stress situations and releasing the blocked energy. I am an ardent believer in this method and active in disseminating it throughout Japan. After such a session, problems come into clearer focus. When I relive past experiences in these sessions, I am astonished by how much I must have suffered when I was young. I have never felt comfortable about my body. On the contrary, it was always the cause of pain and suffering and because of it I was pitied, denied and despised most of the time. I never got compliments. Despite all the complexes I had to cope with, on reaching puberty and entering adolescence I discovered my own potential for sexual relationships not because I loved but because of my need to be accepted. During this time I never felt any satisfaction, but I accepted that this was the only path open to me.

My First Boyfriend
The relationship with my first boyfriend (if I can call him that) started on shaky ground, neither of us daring to communicate verbally with the other. It was not so important for me to attract him mentally, but I always felt great anxiety about my tiny misshapen body being physically attractive to him. It was so important for me to be accepted by him. We therefore spent a lot of time together exploring eroticism. It was a typical male/female relationship, the woman as the sexual object, the man judging her by her appearances.

The time I spent with this boyfriend reflected such habits and was very painful to me. I was afraid to ask him to use contraception and of telling him I didn’t feel any satisfaction from our relations. The need for my body to be accepted was so intense, it distorted this impulsive young act imagining it to be love.

Harsh experience paves the way for a woman to allow herself to be treated as a soulless sexual object. When I reflect on my relationship, it saddens me how I was treated merely as an object and that I couldn’t assert myself as the woman I am. Out of my many painful memories, there is one story of abuse by medical personnel that I would like to share.

Behind Closed Doors
Before starting primary school, I had to have an X-ray examination. A radiologist asked my mother to wait for me outside the room. That was unusual. He then told me to lie down on the cold X-ray machine. He took my underwear off with such authority that I didn’t dare protest. That was also unusual. I felt great fear and anxiety. Then he abused me sexually using a metal stick, all the while whistling and looking as if he were enjoying himself. I could neither scream nor tell my mother afterwards about the dreadful violence. This affair left me deeply scarred.

There is one great danger we disabled women have to face. On one hand we are denied and insulted as women but on the other hand we can easily be raped. I really wish to point out to people with disabilities that we must not allow ourselves to be discouraged by such hard situations. There is no limitation on our ability to love. We can perhaps achieve a better, deeper and more honest kind of communication through our disability and learn to live our lives to the fullest.

But in the meantime we are very dependent on the sensitivity and humanness of medical personnel. To enable us to develop more positively we really need medical personnel who are self-confident and mature. I sincerely hope for more of this type in the future.

After I split up with my young lover, I lived together with a disabled man for nearly six years. This relationship was the first step in learning to love myself. However I didn’t ever consider marrying him, because I didn’t believe that marriage would improve the low status we had in society. But on the other hand I believed in my own mind that if I married a non-disabled man, this would be my passport into normal society and would lessen the discrimination against me.

In 1983, after I finished my six-month course of study in the United States, I told myself, “This life I only live once, so I should live it how I want to.” At the same time I had a strong desire for marriage and soon after started to live with a non-disabled man. My life with the disabled man finished with his kind words, “You must live as you think best.” Later I realized how different living together and marriage really are, and his parting message came to mind.

The proposed marriage with the non-disabled man was opposed violently by his parents and our relationship ended after eight months or so. Now I’m glad that they opposed the marriage. However at that time I was surprised, disgusted, angry and sad. I began to realize how distorted the current marriage system was with its discrimination and lack of humanness.

Traditionally in Japan, being a good wife required obedience to the husband’s family. The love and hope of the couple came second. The capacity to bear children was the woman’s greatest asset. I didn’t fulfill any of these expectations so I was completely rejected by my fiancé’s family. If the marriage system depends on the notion that a man and a woman have to have fixed roles in society, it is extremely difficult for us disabled people to be part of that system.

Even if we had been able to be married without opposition, we would soon have realized that we couldn’t have a balanced relationship because of the social inequality of the sexes. For eight months, I took on the role of proper housewife and was treated as his wife by all people except his family. Before we decided to marry, I felt that I was responsible for the care of his guests and should therefore change my lifestyle. Even being called by his name seemed to be destroying the sense of my own identity.

Through all these experiences I realise that I am discriminated against not only for my disability but also for my being of the female sex. In Japan, we believe that marriage is a passage to join society. However, my desire for marriage has completely disappeared since I became aware of how much society is based on sex discrimination.

Of course, I wouldn’t question anyone’s attempt to create a balanced relationship for themselves through living together, but as a means of recovering from my pains, it is very comfortable to meet my boyfriend just three or four times a week. It took me a long time to come to the realisation that only we two can decide how to love each other. Now we are trying with love and trust to live what we have learned.

From Tools for Power: A Resource Kit for Independent Living, DPI, April 1992

Profile – Jenny Heckendorf

Hello, I’m Jenni Heckendorf. I appreciate art, poetry and good music. I am interested in writing and drawing at home on my computer. Doing creative writing takes up a lot of my time, but I find it enjoyable, interesting and therapeutic. I have had a few of my stories published and hope to publish a small children’s book on cerebral palsy which I have written and illustrated.

I have cerebral palsy and epilepsy. I am working with Disabled Peoples’ International and the WWDA when I feel strong enough and I will be writing articles on issues that need exploring.

Forum on Access for Women with Disabilities to Emergency Accommodation

The Forum on Access for Women with Disabilities to Emergency Accommodation was held on Monday 20th June and was attended by approximately 30 women from the Housing Trust and various other accommodation services.

The meeting addressed the following:

  • Implications of the Disability Discrimination Act for emergency accommodation providers
  • The emergency accommodation needs of women with physical and psychiatric disabilities
  • Gaps and barriers in existing accommodation which hinder women with disabilities in accessing emergency accommodation
  • Related services which should be available for women with disabilities and emergency accommodation providers

Debbie Tyler from Legal Aid explained the broad definition of disability and the legal rights of women with sensory and physical and psychiatric disabilities.

Sexual harassment and rape in university accommodation was an issue raised but unfortunately not discussed at any length. I feel that with more disabled women undertaking tertiary education this is an issue needing further discussion. University accommodation is within an institutional setting and I feel that if this issue is not addressed now this could be a repeat of the situation found in institutions for people with disabilities not so long ago.

Another issue raised was the low number of emergency accommodation shelters who can accommodate women in wheelchairs even though they would accept them. ‘Torah’ a three stage women’s shelter in the inner city is equipped to assist woman with sensory and physical disorders but does not provide any specific care, personal or otherwise.

In conclusion the forum found that there is little emergency accommodation for women with disabilities. Many seem to circulate between hospitals, jail, shelters and the street.

By Jenni Heckendorf

World Assembly – by Rae Hurrell

Women With Disabilities Australia will be responsible for the presentation on women with disabilities at the World Assembly in Sydney in December. Our presentation will take place on Thursday morning 8-12-94. We would like to have three papers presented by Women with Disabilities – Australia. One paper each on the following:

  • Communication
  • Networking
  • Empowerment

We are calling for women who would like to present these papers to notify the office in Canberra and to include a synopsis of their paper. We would like to receive all such material by the 31st of August.

Interview With Senator Rosemary Crowley – by Joan Hume

The following edited interview was conducted by telephone in March 1994.

Joan: In the planning process for the International year of the Family, what initiatives have been taken to include families with a disabled member?

Senator Crowley: Much work has been done before 1994 to prepare for the year. Most important was the establishment of the National Council for the International Year of the Family chaired by Professor Bettina Cass. It certainly has representation for people with disability which was one of the criteria we wanted to accommodate. The council will be very much part of the consultation process around Australia during this year. People with disability will be considered (especially) the impact of a person with disability on a family.

Joan: How can women with disabilities become more involved in the activities of this year? Was the Council planning any special events in which people could participate?

Senator Crowley: In March the National Council released its discussion paper and timetable of national events of community consultation.) So that is one way that people with disability or organisations supporting (them) can be actively involved in the consultation process. Of course there is no reason why people with disability can’t set up forums, seminars or meetings of their own or join any other forums or discussions that they know of where they can make their contribution and have their voice heard. Anyone who wants to is very welcome to write to my office here in Parliament House Canberra.

Joan: In what ways does your portfolio of family services incorporate disability? Do you have responsibility for child disability support?

Senator Crowley:No. Child disability support comes under Social Security. It’s an interesting question though because my portfolio responsibilities do include all of the child care and one very significant area of child care responsibility is what we call the SUPS programme: That is additional money that goes to providers, not to centres, to provide workers with special knowledge about non-English speaking background families, Aboriginal families and families with a disabled member in particular to assist them to have their children be part of mainstream services. I’ve also got the responsibility for the National Child Protection Council. That has produced last year the first ever national preventive strategy against abuse and neglect of children and quite clearly from the evidence we’ve received, disability indeed can be part of that whole complex equation too.

Joan: How can the Women with Disabilities Network and people with disabilities in general, be more actively involved in submission writing and the policy development process in the area of family services?

Senator Crowley: I think ..(the concerns of women with disabilities and their families) are areas where is expert knowledge amongst your network of representatives we would be unable to find anywhere else. So I’d certainly welcome ways in which you’d be able to pass on those ideas and make contribution through the government. The most direct way is to write to my office but I would hope that you would be able to join in the consultation process as it happens around Australia. We would like to provide the Network with the timetable for the consultation process where a member of the council will be present and we’d like to keep in touch with providing your Network with any other information about forums or consultations or meetings that will be happening that might be of assistance to your members. Through your peak organisations we want to ensure that any information like the newsletter, like the calendar, like the timetable are provided.

The Environment Committee – by Rae Hurrell

DPI(A) has an environment sub-committee which is part of the Policy Committee. This committee is looking at the relationship between environmental issues and disabilities. Some disabilities, such as industrial deafness, Mina Marta disease, and Asbestosis are attributable to environmental abuses. In other cases these abuses have a detrimental effect people who already has a disability: eg pollution affects people who have lung problems as a result of their disability.

Two women from WWDA are members of this committee – Kathy Liccardo and Rae Hurrell. At present the areas which this committee is looking into are:

  • Skin cancer/eye damage caused by the increase of UVR associated with the “hole” in the Ozone Layer.
  • Asbestos related problems.
  • Aboriginal Health and the environment
  • Population

If you have an interest in these areas, or another environment area please send this information to Rae Hurrell at WWDA office. We would love to hear from you.

Report from the International Committee – by Rae Hurrell

Kathy Liccardo and Rae Hurrell are representatives on the International sub committee of DPI(A)’s Policy Committee. An important issue for this sub committee is the appointment of an International Representative for DPI(A). Every four years DPI(A) is required to elect, or re-confirm it’s International Representative to serve on the DPI Asia/Pacific Regional Council. This person would represent Australia and the Oceania Sub-region at the DPI Asia/Pacific Regional Council. They would be required to report regularly to DPI(A)’s National Council on matters of International interest.

If any of our readers have experience in International Disability issues and have worked with people with disabilities at International Conferences we would encourage you to stand for election. There is overseas travel involved and the National Council of DPI(A) has approved a limited budget which covers a percentage of the costs involved in this travel. If you wish to apply please send a resume detailing your interest and experience in disability issues both locally and internationally to:

Kathy Licciardo
International Sub-Committee
DPI Australia
PO Box 169

The closing date for your application is fast approaching. The National Council of DPI(A) will elect the representative at their August meeting.

The 4th Asia/Pacific Regional Assembly and the 12th Asia/Pacific Leadership Training Seminar will be held in Jakarta Indonesia from November 27 to December 2 1994. There will also be a seminar on the inclusion of People with Disabilities in Community – Based Rehabilitation Training from November 22-25 1994 also in Indonesia. If you are interested in either of these conferences you could contact DPI(A) for more information.

The Constitution

Women With Disabilities – Australia is currently going through the process of becoming incorporated. This process involves the creation of a constitution. This constitution is the document that outlines the kind of organisation we wish to be. It documents our objectives, organisational structures, legal requirements and membership criteria. We are hoping to have completed this document in the next month. If any member would like to see a copy of the completed document please let me know and I’ll send you one. Ph 008-805 428 or 02 06 2823025.

The Disability Services Aboriginal Corporation – DSAC

Disability Services Aboriginal Corporation was established by two parents concerned by the lack of services provided by government and Aboriginal controlled agencies for disabled members of the Aboriginal community within the Sydney metropolitan region.

On 6th April 1994 a meeting was held at Redfern town hall and attended by 50 concerned parents and representatives of funding agencies. These agencies were the Commonwealth Department of Human Services and Health, ATSIC, NSW Office of Aboriginal Affairs, NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Department of Housing and the Aboriginal Employment Officer with the Department of Community Services.

As a result of this meeting, an offer was made from a representative of the Department of Human Services and Health to assist the Organisation with full facilities looking towards the provision of three culturally appropriate group home/respite care centres for intellectually and physically disabled Aboriginal clients.

The Objectives of The Disability Services Aboriginal Corporation are:

  • To give all Aboriginal people with a physical and/or intellectual disability a much improved quality of life that is not yet available to them.
  • Advocate on behalf of Aboriginal people with a physical and or intellectual disability.
  • To establish resources to service the needs that arise from such disabilities.
  • To establish short term and long term accommodation and care that is culturally appropriate to the needs of disabled Aboriginal people.
  • To set up an education and support unit to assist parents in dealing with the needs of disabled Aboriginal people and their carers.
  • To give a wider choice in choosing a better quality of life for disabled Aboriginal people.

The United Nations Women’s Conference, Beijing – by Rae Hurrell

On 6th of July, I was fortunate enough to meet with three members of the All China Women’s Federation, which is organising the 1995 UN Women’s Conference in Beijing. Ms Xiao, Ms Hu and Ms Gao are currently working at Griffith University in Brisbane, where in addition to improving their English they are working on a research project on Reproduction in Women. They are accompanied by Dr Wang from the University. This research project has been funded by Ford America.

I was able to discuss with the women the preparation for the NGO segment of the Conference. I was particularly interested in the provisions which were being made for women with disabilities. From people who have been to Beijing in recent times I have been able to establish that while the accommodation is very good for people with disabilities; there is no accessible public transport. This was confirmed by the women. However they did assure me that the Chinese Government is very anxious that this conference be a very big success and that they are already working on plans for women who require accessible transport.

The women were most anxious that provision be made for all participants at the conference and that problems will be sorted out as far as possible prior to the conference. I will keep in contact with these women when they return to China in August, so that we can give them as much information regarding the needs and requirements of women with disabilities attending the conference as possible.

Around the States

Women with Disabilities (Australian Capital Territory) Inaugural Meeting 25th June 1994

The nucleus of a Canberra network of Women With a Disability met on the afternoon of Saturday 25 June. The aim of the meeting was to get to know each other and to initiate the formal structures of a local network. We read the International Women’s Day Statement by the European spokesperson for women with disabilities, Ms Hurst. There followed a discussion about the particular issues of great concern to women with disabilities. Two women, Ann Edwards and Loraine Condon, undertook the task of preparing a constitution. They will work closely with Sue to insure the ACT document dovetail.

We set a meeting day for the last Saturday of each month. All women with disabilities in the ACT are welcome to join our meetings and other activities. We need you and we hope you will find friendship and enjoyment in our group. The next meeting is on the 30th July at 2.30 pm and is being held at the office of DPIA 30 Storey Street, Curtin, ACT.


ACW Consultation Programme
The Australian Council of Women will be holding consultations all around Australia to gain a position for Australian women at the Beijing conference. Go along and have your say. It is open to all women. For more information call Jennie Cameron on Ph. 06 2715758 Fax. 06 271 57 51.

Townsville/ Cairns – Mon 8th Aug.
Mackay/Rockhampton – Tues 9th Aug.
Adelaide – Wens 10th Aug
Port Lincoln – Thurs 11th Aug.
Alice Springs – Fri 12th Aug.
Melbourne – Mon 22nd Aug
Ballarat/Shepparton – Tues 23rd Aug
Geelong – Thurs 25th Aug
Morwell/Horsham/Springvale – Aug?
Nowra – Sun 21st Aug
Wollongong – Mon 22nd Aug
Newcastle – 21st Aug
Sydney – Mon 22nd Aug
Sydney (west) – Tues 23rd Aug
Moree – Fri 26th Aug
Perth – Wens 24th Aug
Regional WA Thurs – Sat 25th-27th Aug

21-26 AUGUST 1994
The 8th International Symposium on Victimology
Co-sponsored by the Australian Institute of Criminology. Contact: Conf Unit, AIC
Ph (06) 274-0223 fax (06) 274-0225

26-29 AUGUST 1994
28th Conference of the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women (AFBPW)
Fremantle. Contact: Linda Hall ph (004) 278759

Conference on National Mental Health Policy for Deaf and Hearing Impaired People.
Australian Association of Workers with the Deaf , Sydney.
Contact Margaret Imrie/Peter Mulham;
Tel (02) 560 6433; TTY (02) 564 2202 Fax (02) 550 9625.

16-18 SEPTEMBER 1994
Women of the Land Gathering – Surviving and Thriving, Gunnedah
For more information contact Janet Redden, ‘Eloura’, Mullaley NSW 2379
Ph 067 43-5379

24-30 SEPTEMBER 1994
Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW).
Brisbane and the Gold Coast. 29th Triennial Conference and Western Pacific Conference
Contact PO Box 6620, Upper Mt Gravatt Qld 4122

Surviving Mental Illness! – 4th Annual Mental Health Services Conference of Australia and New Zealand
Incorporating the 3rd Annual ANZ Mental Health Achievement Awards, Melbourne University.
Contact:Pauline Turner/Jayashri;
Tel (03)797 1822; Fax (03) 706 8636.

Brain Injury Awareness Week

8-11 OCTOBER 1994
Women, Power and Politics.
International conference to advance the rights of women and their role in politics.
Adelaide Convention Centre, Contact Conference Secretariat.
Tel (08) 363-1307, Fax 08 363-1604

26-30 OCTOBER 1994
6th Joint National Conference of the National Council on Intellectual Disability and the Australian Society for the Study of Intellectual Disability.
Esplanade Hotel, Freemantla WA.
Contact: Fred Noteboom,
PO Box 446, Jolimont, WA, 6014;
Tel (09) 387 0555; Fax (09) 387 0599

2-4 NOVEMBER 1994
Advancing Rehabilitation Conference,
Radisson President Hotel, Melbourne, Victoria.
Contact: Continuing Education Unit,
La Trobe University,
Locked Bag 12, Carlton South, Vic 3053;
Tel (03) 418 6951; Fax (03) 418 6988.

20-23 NOVEMBER 1994
International Year of the Family Conference
Adelaide “Australian Families: The Next Ten Years” Contact: Elizabeth Eaton
Festival City Conventions,
PO Box 986 Kent Town SA 5071,
Ph (08) 363 1307 Fax (08) 363 1604

17-18 NOVEMBER 1994
ACROD Convention, to be held at the Lakeside Hotel, Canberra.

17-20 NOVEMBER 1994
Australian Cystic Fibrosis Conference, Hotel Nikko Potts Point, Sydney.
Abstracts no later than 30 June 1994.
Contact: Australian Cystic Fibrosis Association ,
PO Box 254, North Ryde, 2113:
Tel (02) 878 5250; Fax (02) 878 5058.

30th Nov-Dec 2 1994
Women and Drugs Conference: Challenge, Consensus and Change.
Organised by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.
For enquiries or submission of abstracts contact Jan Copeland ph (02) 398 9333

World Assembly of DPI, Sydney

8 MARCH 1995
International Women’s Day


The following publications have been received at the DPI(A) office. For information on publications, please call Sue or Di on (008) 805 428.

ON THE LEVEL – Physical and Intellectual Disability and Sexuality: Volume 1 & 2. From The Family Planning Association NSW, 1993.

DISABILTY EMPLOYMENT ACTION CENTRE NEWS. July 1994. Contains articles on Discrimination and Advocacy.

DISABILITY INTERNATIONAL – Contains article on “expression” by Rachel Hurst. In this article she remembers the world’s disabled women. Also “Abuse” one woman’s story.

EVERY CHILD – Magazine of the Early Childhood Association Vol 1 Winter 1994. Articles on Cash Rebates in Child Care, Accreditation of Child Care Centres etc.

TRIPLE DISADVANTAGE – A report on Women with Disabilities from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds, living in Australia, by Lina Pane. Written for the National Women’s Consultative Council.

THE FALLING WOMAN – by Susan Hawthorne. 1992. Published by Spinifex Press. The Falling Woman memorably dramatises a desert journey in which two women confront ancient and modern myths, ranging from the Garden of Eden to the mystique of epilepsy, and the mysteries of the universe itself. In the guise of three personae – Stella, Estella, Estelle – the falling woman struggles to find the map for her life and meet the challenge of her own survival.

ONE DAY AT A TIME – with Rheumatoid Arthritis by Loraine Condon. 1992. Published by Sadas Pty Ltd, PO Box 164 Curtin ACT 2605. One Day at a Time is the product of one woman’s experience of living with rheumatoid arthritis and learning how to cope successfully. This book is full of practical guidance on a wide range of subjects from household tasks to sexuality and pain management. It is designed to help people with rheumatoid arthritis and their partners to steer a path through the frustrations of living a painful and unpredictable chronic illness.