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IWD: WWDA Leadership Statement Launch

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Launching WWDA's Leadership Statement, International Women's Day 2022!

Please join us on International Women's Day for the launch of the new WWDA Leadership Statement codesigned by and for women and nonbinary people with disability. We will be talking to how the statement was developed and how it encompasses our vision for transforming societies understanding, definitions and presentation of what 'leadership' means. 

“Seeing things as they will be… a world which values the leadership of women and girls with disabilities in all our diversity”.

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) is the award winning, national Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) and National Women’s Alliance (NWA) for women, girls, feminine identifying and non-binary people with disabilities in Australia.

In preparation for the WWDA Leadership Statement, WWDA has worked in a co-design framework and approach with the WWDA LEAD Project Steering Committee, made up of experienced and diverse women with disabilities from across the country. Through this process and space, WWDA has recognised and explored existing leadership struggles, progress, and achievements, including the feminist and transformative leadership that contributed to the history of the disability rights movement and the formation of WWDA. 

Through our research and codesign process we distilled information and experiences into five 'Principles', they are:

1. Lead by lifting others up. 

“Leadership that creates space for others to join, feel and be heard too”.

2. Value diversity and lived experience.

“Promoting the status of women and girls with disabilities in all our diversity”.

3. Challenging and transforming traditional views of leadership.

“Women with disabilities are not problems to be ‘fixed’, we are problem solvers”.

4. Care for self to care for community.

“The relationships we have with ourselves, and others are the most important resources that we have”.

5. Nothing about us without us.

“Inclusion not segregation”'

The statement will be launched by the Hon Senator Marise Payne, Minister for Women, and will include a panel of women and nonbinary people who were involved in its development. 

The Host: 

Akii Ngo is proud disabled, chronically ill and LGBTIQA+ queer non-binary person of colour who is deeply passionate about intersectionality, non-tokenistic representation and intersectional co-design. A fierce and international multi award-winning disability and gender equity advocate.

Akii is a first-generation Aussie from a refugee background, who lives with many complex chronic illnesses, chronic pain and disabilities. Akii is an intimate partner (IPV) and family violence (FV) survivor-advocate, Board Director & Company Secretary of Disability Justice Australia, and sits on several advisory committees and working groups nationwide within the health, LGBTIQA+ and disability advocacy sectors. In addition to advising and consulting for LGBTIQA+ rights, gender equity and trauma-informed violence prevention (as many of Akii’s disability are a direct result of IPV) which Akii has bravely shared on the WWDA Our Site. Akii is the recipient of the 2020 Australian Disability Leadership Awards in Social Change, a 2021 7News Young Australian of the Year VIC Leadership Semi Finalist and the 2021 D-30 International Disability Impact Leader.

Currently, Akii is a Project Manager at Disability Sport & Recreation, working to ensure increased inclusion, diversity and accessibility for people with disability to be active. A public health practitioner and nutritionist by trade, Akii is a seasoned public speaker and writer across local, national, and international forums. Akii is also an agency represented and internationally published model – working to challenge the perception of and provide positive representation of disabled people and appearance diversity (i.e. scars etc.) in media, fashion and beauty industries, such as at the most recent Melbourne Fashion Week!

The panel will include: 

-       Saphia Grant (they/them), WWDA LEAD Project Manager

Saphia Grant is the WWDA LEAD Project Manager and is passionate about working in codesign to include and empower women, girls and nonbinary people. They have been advocating on issues such as human rights, and climate change their whole working career. With a background in studying Psychology and Business Management and lived experience, and as a Parent/Carer, White Australian, LGBTIQA+ person with multiple disabilities Saphia recognises their privilege and brings multiple lenses to their advocacy and work.  

While not working at WWDA, Saphia sits on the Tasmanian Department of Justice, Disability Reference group, the ACON QueerAbility Advisory Group, and is involved in organising, administrating, and supporting State and local community advocacy events and campaigns. While also spending time with their son, two cats and two rabbits in nipaluna/Hobart.

-      Karin Swift, Disability Advocate, WWDA LEAD Project Steering Committee. 

Karin has had an extensive career in the disability, advocacy and social policy space where she is committed to people with disability living valued lives in the community. Karin is a past President of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and has an extensive background in governance roles for other non-government organisations (NGOs). Karin has represented the Australian Government and WWDA at the Commission on the Status of Women 57 (CSW 57) held at the United Nations, New York, providing high level, strategic advice to on women with disability and violence and presenting at various side events. Karin has also led training alongside the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and been a keynote speaker for WWDA in Indonesia and South Korea on gender and disability and the elimination of violence.

Karin has previously worked at Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) in various roles and provided strategic high-level advice and analysis on many contemporary disability issues and other social policies including: human rights, gender issues, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Disability Royal Commission, housing, transport, welfare reform and employment.

Karin currently works as an independent consultant providing strategic high level advice, policy analysis and giving presentations to a diverse range of audiences on a range of key disability social policy issues.

-      Monique Crowden, Disability Advocate, WWDA LEAD Project Steering Committee.

Monique is a passionate self-advocate and leader for people with intellectual disability in Tasmania. Along with her other commitments, Monique has been involved with the Speak Out Association of Tasmania and Women with Disabilities Australia for several years. In recent years, Monique has sat on advisory groups for a number of WWDA projects, including those which lead to the development of the Our Site website and the Sunny app; and is now representing her community on the WWDA LEAD Project Steering Committee. Monique also volunteers with her the local girl guides group, is a mentor for young girls with a disability and is passionate about inclusion and a truly inclusive society.

Auslan and live-captioning will be available.

For any questions please contact: 

Saphia Grant:

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