WDV eNews

Thursday June 17, 2021

A Message from WDV CEO

Welcome to the first wintry edition of Enews for 2021! The weather has made lockdowns across Victoria more complicated for many, and our thoughts are with our members and friends who have been affected by flooding over the past two weeks. We hope that you are safe and well supported.

This edition, we’re focusing on leadership. We’ve just had some fabulous news: two long time members and supporters of WDV, our former CEO Keran Howe, and longtime LGBTIQA+ and disability advocate, Jax Jacki Brown, have been awarded OAMs in the Queens Birthday honours list. Both Keran and Jax have given a lot to the WDV community and to the broader push for improved rights for women and gender diverse Victorians. I’d like to offer our sincere thanks for all of the - often invisible, and often difficult - work, and to congratulate them both on their awards.

At WDV, we work to raise the profile of women and gender diverse leaders with disability. We can’t be what we don’t see, and it’s critical that we recognise that leadership comes in many forms and exists in many places. That’s why we founded the Brenda Gabe Leadership Award in memory of a strong disabled woman. Every two years we encourage nominations from across Victoria, with the aim of offering both a higher profile and funds for leadership development to the winner. You can find out more in the article below.

Of course, being a leader isn’t just about finding your way alone. Our sisters over at Women with Disabilities Australia are running peer networking sessions for leaders across the country. If there isn’t someone in your local area who connects with your work, maybe there’s someone on the other side of the country? We’ve included a link below.

Photo of Leah van Poppel

Nominations are now open for Brenda Gabe Leadership Award

Nominations for the WDV Brenda Gabe Leadership Award are now open.

The Brenda Gabe Leadership Award is a biennial award which recognises and rewards outstanding leadership by women with disability in Victoria.

Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV) invites nominations of individuals or groups who have made a contribution which has either:

  • Directly benefited women with disability, or
  • Ensured a more inclusive community for women with disability.


Individuals (or groups) nominated for this award must be:

    Individuals (or groups) nominated for this award must identify as female (cis or transgender) or a non-binary person with disability and reside in Victoria.

    You can nominate yourself or your group (self-nomination) or any individual who identifies as a girl/woman (cis or trans), non-binary, or gender diverse person.

      We encourage the nomination of women with diverse backgrounds and/or life experiences.

      The award recipient will be announced at WDV’s Annual General Meeting on October 26, 2021, and receives $2,000 towards a capacity-building project or professional development. 

      Our most recent winner Shakira Hussein says "The Brenda Gabe award gave me confidence that my writing on the topic of disability was helping to make a difference in the lives of women who were undergoing similar difficulties to my own. It also provided me with the resources that I needed to continue that work - support which has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic."

      Shakira Hussein
      Visit the Brenda Gabe Leadership Award page

      Deputy CEO and Program Manager, Community Inclusion and Women’s Empowerment Nadia Mattiazzo was interviewed on Vision Australia radio on Wednesday 16 June. The interview begins at 2 minutes and 35 seconds in.

      Listen to Nadia's interview

      WDV's Disability Royal Commission event

      Women with Disabilities Victoria invites you to an online forum on how to share your story with the Disability Royal Commission.

      Date and time: June 29, 2021, 12:30 – 1:30pm 

      Format: 60-minute online panel and Q&A    

      MC: Leah van Poppel, CEO Women with Disabilities Victoria   


      The Commission will be focusing on the experiences of women and girls with disabilities in upcoming hearings.  

      This event is for you if you are a woman, girl, or non-binary, and are interested in the Commission. It is also for you if you might be supporting someone to share their story with the Commission.  

      We encourage questions to be asked of panel members. If you have a question you would like to ask, please submit it to phillipa.wray@wdv.org.au We will ensure all questions are to be kept anonymous for your privacy. 


      Leah van Poppel, CEO of Women with Disabilities Victoria

      Leah van Poppel will MC and moderate this event.

      Kate Eastman SC, Barrister, Disability Royal Commission 

      Senior Counsel Assisting Kate Eastman will talk about the Commission's focus on women and girls. 

      Jen Hargrave, Policy Officer, Women with Disabilities Victoria 

      Jen Hargrave will talk about some of the big issues impacting women and girls with MC WDV CEO, Leah van Poppel. 

      WDV’s submissions to the Royal Commission can be found at: https://www.wdv.org.au/our-work/our-work-with-government/submissions-2/  

      Register for WDV's Disability Royal Commission event

      The Disability Royal Commission wants to hear from you. The below video explains how you can share your story.  whether it's through a submission or a private session - in any way you feel comfortable.

      Watch the DRC video

      COVID resources

    • The Victorian Government announced changes to COVID-19 restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria from Friday, 11 June 2021. These changes will help to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

      You’ll find an Easy English summary of these restrictions at https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/information-people-disability-coronavirus-disease-covid-19More information on these new restrictions is available at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

      Easy English

      Metropolitan Melbourne - the rules for people living in metropolitan Melbourne (all of Melbourne).

      Changes to restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne now apply - Easy English

      Regional Victoria - the rules for people living in regional Victoria (outside of metropolitan Melbourne). 

      Changes to restrictions in regional Victoria now apply - Easy English 

      Information about vaccinations for people with a disability is available at: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccination-information-people-disability 

      If you have any questions about the restrictions, services that are available to you or how to get vaccinated please call the 24/7 Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.

      Save the date - Members Lunch

        WDV will be hosting a Members Lunch on Tuesday August 10, 2021.

        This will be a hybrid event meaning members can attend in person at The Jasper Hotel 489 Elizabeth St, Melbourne or over Zoom. The event will run from 12pm - 4pm with special guests and time for networking.

        Stay tuned for more details.

        Congratulations on receiving OAMs! 

        Congratulations to former Executive Officer of Women with Disabilities Victoria Keran Howe on receiving an  Order of the Medal of  Australia for service to people with disability. Keran led WDV from 2006 - 2018 and has dedicated her professional life to advocacy and empowering and supporting women with disabilities. 

        Keran has represented issues related to women’s health, violence prevention and the rights of women with disabilities (and where these intersect) on a range of government advisory and community boards. 

        Keran has sat on numerous boards and committees and as a guest speaker, has spoken at conferences, forums and dinners advocating for recognition of the human rights of women with disabilities.  

        Keran has a background in social work and is also interested in the use of psychodramatic methods in team building and organisational development. 

        Keran has been recognied for her contribution to the rights of women with disabilities by being inducted into the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll. Keran has been a Churchill Fellow exploring screening for violence in antenatal settings. 

        Congratulations to WDV member Jax Jacki Brown on receiving a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia for service to people with disability. Jax is a disability and LGBTI writer, workshop presenter, speaker, performer and theatre producer, who spoke at our Parenting Member event in September.

        Thank you for your work Jax. Congratulations.

        Jax Jacki Brown

        Do you know anybody who wants to be a WDV member?

        Members can contribute to Women with Disabilities Victoria in the following ways:

        • Become involved in one of our leadership programs designed to promote sharing leadership skills.
        • Sharing information with other women through our e-newsletter and email bulletins.
        • Representing women with disabilities on Boards, Committees and forums. These opportunities are circulated to members who have an interest in a particular field.
        • Contributing to government submissions, representations to government and organisations and presentation of conference papers.

        Is there a cost to join?

        Full membership

        Full membership is available to women (cis or trans), gender diverse or non-binary people with disabilities in Victoria. Full membership is free.

        Associate membership

        Associate membership is open to individuals and/or organisations supportive of the aims of Women with Disabilities Victoria and enables exchange of knowledge, and participation with Women with Disabilities Victoria and its members.

        Associate membership is $50 for individuals and $140 for organisations (this includes GST).

        Become a WDV member

        Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) LEAD virtual peer networking event

        Do you want to connect with other disabled women?

        Join Women With Disabilities Australia LEAD virtual peer networking event. Chat to other women, girls, feminine identifying and non-binary people with disability who are leaders in our communities, share ideas, learn more about how to get involved in LEAD and have some fun!

        This session will be about discussing the benefits of and differences between informal and formal leadership. And how we navigate these in our real lives. Guest co-facilitator to be announced soon.  

        • When: June 23, 2021
        • Time: 5:30 – 6:45pm (AEST)
        • Where: Via Zoom link.
        Register for the peer networking event

        World Elder Abuse Day

        World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is commemorated each year on 15 June to highlight one of the worst manifestations of ageism and inequality in our society, elder abuse. Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as a family member or friend. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect. Respect Victoria have a campaign called Respect Older People: 'Call It Out'

        View Respect Victoria's Respect Older People: 'Call It Out'

        Stella Young Award 2021 

        Arts Access Victoria cherishes the memory of our collaborator Stella Young and honours her by awarding a young Australian disabled artist each year with $3,000.

        This is a great opportunity for young disabled artists aged between 16 and 30 years old to be recognised for their impact on disability activism and culture through their artistic practice (in comedy, performing arts or screen culture).

        Applications open 25 May and close Monday 5 July at 5.00 pm.

        Applicants must:

        • identify as a Deaf and/or Disabled person;

        • have created work (paid or voluntary) in either comedy, performing arts or screen culture;
        • be between the ages of 16 and 30
        • be a permanent resident of Australia; and
        • have made a powerful impact through their practice.

        Submit your application by 5.00 pm on Monday 5 July to Eva Sifis (Project Officer) at esifis@artsaccess.com.au.

        Stella Young
        Find out more information about the award and apply

        Do you have news, comments, questions or feedback for us? 

        We love to hear from the WDV community. If you have something you think should be included in this newsletter please contact our Membership Engagement and Communications Officer Nicole at nicole.smith@wdv.org.au

        Copyright 2021 Women with Disabilities Victoria

        If you wish to unsubscribe, please email wdv@wdv.org.au