This year I was once again given the opportunity to attend the Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) and again what an amazing life changing and affirming experience. Meeting old friends and making new friends and seeing the transformation of the lives of women with disabilities from all over the world. This year the Gender Disability and Development Institute was attended by 53 women from 42 countries and representatives from aid agencies and representatives of the US Government. Again there were critical conversations about how to include women with disabilities in development initiatives around the world. While I was in the USA I had a great opportunity to do an interview with the Autism Women’s Network, the transcript of which can be found here. This interview explores a range of things including WILD and perspectives on the autism spectrum.

Parallel to this there was another program being run by the Gender Consortium of Flinders University which invited regional Leadership fellows to Australia for three months for an intensive learning on gendering development in the Asian region. The culmination of this was a symposium Inclusion Matters: Gender and Disability in Local and Global Contexts and the great presentations can be found here. On the same weekend a group of women got together in solidarity and formed Women with Disabilities South Australia (WWDSA). This is an important local action as women with disabilities are just not being heard in consultations outside of disability specific ones and even the disability consultations are not tuned in to the voices of women. It is ironic that even though we have powerful representative in Kelly Vincent MLC women’s voices are still quiet and some of the most vulnerable voices are the quietest.

On the work front Company@ Autistic Theatre has produced a wonderful new show called “Solving the Cube” in conjunction with a local high school. This show is designed to tour to schools as an interactive piece of theatre for social change.

On a personal note I have been driving now for 5 months and have been gaining more and more confidence on the road. I am also honored to have be selected to represent Women with Disabilities Australia on the Board of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations.

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