NSW Network of Women with Disability (Women’s Network)

The NSW Network of Women with Disability, also known as the “Women’s Network” has members from all across NSW. It works to:

• build a community to connect, support, share stories, knowledge and skills
• create a place to celebrate individual and collective differences as women with disability
• develop the skills of women with disability to work towards inclusion and equity

NSW Network of Women with Disability: What they do

ChickChat
A state-wide, quarterly telephone link-up for women with disability who identify as being home-based

Venus Newsletter
A publication written by women with disability, for women with disability

MsTical Women’s Gatherings
Are a way for members and potential members to connect in a comfortable, informal atmosphere

  • Glebe
  • Campbelltown
  • Parramatta
  • Sydney City
  • Macarthur
  • Penrith

Facebook and Women Like Us Yahoo Group is another way to connect with members, no matter where they are in NSW

Members’ Contribution in Awareness Raising Events, Projects, Forums and Networks Formed is how they work towards equity and inclusion. In the past year, members have been involved in:

  • International Women’s Day
  • Reclaim the Night
  • Project on Women with Disability and their Sexual Life –which formed the basis of a report titled: “Your voice is your protection”, a study of sexual experiences of women with disabilities
  • The World Assembly for Women with Disabilities in Seoul
  • Don’t DIS my ABILITY Campaign, International Day of People with Disability NSW Ambassadors
  • Empowerment Month

o Penrith in partnership with Penrith Women’s Group (Nepean Disability Social Group) held a Confidence Building Workshop
o Sydney City in partnership with NSW Council for Intellectual Disability held a Confidence Building Workshop
o Granville held a Confidence Building Workshop

  • Invisible Visible Photography Project
  • Barriers and facilitators to breast and cervical cancer screening for women with physical disabilities: A mixed methods study
  • Person Centred Approaches Consultations
  • Leaders for Tomorrow Program
  • Accessible Arts Audience Reference Group
  • National Women’s Health Conference Stakeholders Forum
  • Women’s Health NSW

The Women’s Network is run by women with disability, for women with disability, with women with disability and relies on the ongoing support of MDAA, as well as some very dedicated volunteers, who like to be known as the WOW (Women Office Wenches) Team. Here is what some of the members have to say:

“The biggest thing I am grateful for is that through the Network I have met some wonderful women and made lifelong friendships with women who understand what I’m going through. I enjoy some of the activities that the Network has arranged, such as self defence and self esteem workshops and social days of coffee and lunch at cafes.” Joanne from Wyee Point

“I am sharing my sincere compliment to the Women’s Network’s varied projects and activities, and with their awesome Venus Newsletter that had and will always have an impact on myself as a woman with disability. The work of the Women’s Network truly redounds to the benefit of women with different types of disability especially those who feel isolated, have unsolved problems which they may not solve in one click of a finger.” Carmelita from Guildford

“I just really value participating in the WOW Team and its activities, including ChickChat, which all comes down to one thing, being actively included, practically, emotionally, socially and politically. We do more than recognise, we actually embrace inclusion. Being home-based, it doesn’t matter what’s happening in life, I am always able to contribute and provide input. I really like the social network aspect, whether it be through working on a campaign or having a coffee together. You are embraced for where you’re at, and who you are. I value the wisdom and experiences we collectively have. People recognise the Network as a place which contributes and is involved. We are a port of call for many projects, government and non government reference/advisory groups and the like.” Kerri from Glebe

“The women of the network and their commitment to continue in the development of projects, enabling to work towards helping with the betterment of conditions, and the resilience of these women never ceases to astound me. The friendships made are lifelong, are unbreakable bonds between women; even if you never meet each other face-to-face, it’s like an umbilical cord that connects us, feeding and nourishing each other. Whatever it is we’re doing, whether it be a coffee morning, a project, a ChickChat program. It’s the same enthusiasm within the planning to the execution; such a burst of energy!” Joanne from St Andrews

“I think that the women’s network is a fun place. I have enjoyed the Empowerment Month workshops, going to all the women’s gatherings, and getting to meet the members. I learn about lots of things in the Women’s Network.” Hannen from Lidcombe