WWDA was deeply saddened to learn of the death on 10th March 2017 of one of our esteemed founding and life members, Ms Joan Hume, OAM.
Joan played a pivotal role in WWDA’s early development, as Editor of WWDA’s first ever Newsletter (published in May 1992) and in WWDA’s transition – from a small network of women with disabilities operating within Disabled People’s International (Australia) – to an incorporated association in 1995.
Joan was a member of WWDA’s first formalised ‘Steering Committee’, established in 1994 after WWDA received a very small funding grant from the Australian Government.
Joan’s profile, published in the WWDA Newsletter in August 1994 stated:
“Joan Hume sustained quadriplegia from a car accident in 1971 when working as a high school teacher in Sydney. She returned to teaching after hospitalisation 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 [sic]. 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.” [WWDA News, Issue 7, August 1994].
Joan went on to receive many more awards and accolades for her staunch and unwavering activism to advance the human rights of people with disabilities. She remained a committed member of WWDA, always looking for ways to continue to advocate for the rights of all women and girls with disabilities.
WWDA offers our heartfelt condolences to Joan’s family and friends, and also to our colleagues in the Australian disability rights movement.