Celebrating unity in diversity
Advocate Eliza Hull called for greater acceptance and support of parents with disabilities at the Women’s event for International Day of People with Disabilities last week.
Acceptance, respect and kindness were the overwhelming themes at the ‘Unity in diversity’ event, which was attended by the Women’s staff and members of the Board, as well as consumers and people from the wider disability community.
Eliza Hull gave a keynote address and led a Q&A with gender and disability advisor Carly Myers, consumer Elizabeth Jeroboam and advocate and carer Julie Fisher. Ms Hull closed the event with a performance of her song ‘Running Underwater’ about living with the condition Charcot Marie Tooth while being true to herself.
Celebrating diversity in all its forms
In her keynote address, Ms Hull, who is also a musician and writer, shared her personal story of becoming a parent and raising her children as a person with disability.
She said she faced discrimination and judgement from many people in the healthcare system and the public.
This experience inspired her to become an advocate for the 15 per cent of Australian households who are parenting with a disability.
“I believe there needs to be a shift in the way we as a community view disabled parents. We need support as soon as we become pregnant until after our birth and beyond,” she said.
“Parenting with a disability doesn’t look like following a textbook – it looks like love, connection, pride, innovation and adaptability. But we face so many societal barriers as soon as we decide to parent.
“In the end, becoming a mother enabled me to not only face my own internal fears and ableism, but also understand where these discriminatory beliefs had come from. I now accept who I am and love that I can offer my children a life where diversity in all its forms is celebrated.
The Women’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion
The ‘Unity in diversity’ event was one initiative outlined in the Women’s Disability Action Plan 2022–2025.
The plan reaffirms the Women’s commitment to providing accessible and inclusive healthcare and employment.
The Women’s Chief Experience Officer, Sherri Huckstep, who hosted the event, said the Women’s aims to partner with people with disabilities to address and remove structural barriers and discriminatory practices that impact health and employment outcomes.
“The Women’s is committed to becoming a disability confident organisation. That does not come from flicking a switch, but from deep listening to those with living experience,” she said.
“As an organisation and as healthcare leaders, we are committed to learning from people with disabilities and celebrating the absolute strength we have in our combined differences – to finding unity in diversity.”
Read the full Disability Action Plan 2022–2025.