Celebrating International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day, our Belrose head office held a special morning tea, to celebrate the challenges and triumphs faced by women with a disability.

March 13, 2014

International Women’s Day is about celebrating women who inspire change and make our world a better place, acknowledging challenges faced by women and talking about the rights of women.

Our Belrose head office held a special morning tea, to celebrate the challenges and triumphs faced by women with a disability, with special guests co-founder Dorothy Watts, Nicole Watts, former CEO Shirley White, former EA Helen Singleton and Partners in Dignity benefactor Ros Hadley.

Each and every one of these women have contributed so much to the work of House with No Steps (now Aruma) and continue to inspire us to work toward change and ensure the rights of people with disability are respected now and in the future.

We were reminded of the importance of continuing in this work even beyond our own lifetime and how Dorothy and Ros have already done so by participating in the Partners in Dignity group.

Dorothy has inspired so much change in our world for women and for people with a disability and spoke about the inspiring women who were instrumental in the early years of our organisation.

Rachel Spencer from our inclusion and advocacy team and Sydney employee Erica Halvorsen inspired us all with a wonderful conversation about some of the challenges women with a disability face, human rights and self advocacy.

Erica is very passionate about the rights of people with a disability and says, “Women with disabilities have more trouble than men getting their rights met and being heard. This makes me feel disturbed”.

Sadly, women with a disability around the world face disadvantage in many areas of life including less rights to education, employment, less access to health services, less rights in relationships, law and justice.

Women with a disability are also twice as likely as women without a disability to experience violence in their lives. The right to be free from abuse and violence is a human right we should all enjoy and so is the right to feel safe.

“Women have as much right as men to walk around the streets with no problems. Sometimes women are very fearful of walking in the street in their local area. We as women have the right to feel comfortable in our own local area. Women and girls need education and support to be safe and have their rights met”, says Erica.

Erica is an active member of our Sydney Rights and Self Advocacy group and has done a lot to make sure she knows her rights and can speak up for herself. She says, “It is important to learn to speak up. Women need to learn to speak up and be heard. This will make sure they are safe and have a good life”.