The WWDA Youth Network has launched a new podcast in partnership with 2RPH. Hear all about the history, goals and achievements of our organisation, told through inspiring stories from extraordinary women.
Hi everyone, today we are excited to be recording the first episode of our new podcast series hosted by the Women with Disabilities Australia Youth Network. I will start with an acknowledgement of country, acknowledging that I’m calling in from the land of the Muwinina people, and that this land was stolen and never ceded. I would also like to acknowledge our elders past and present and extend that to any Indigenous listeners.
For those of you that don’t know, my name is Heidi La Paglia, and I am a woman with disability living with autism and chronic illness. But today I am here representing my workplace, Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA). WWDA is the only national Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) for women, girls, feminine-identifying and non-binary people with disabilities in Australia. We use the term women and girls with disabilities on the understanding that this is inclusive of women, girls, feminine-identifying and non-binary people with disabilities and will use this term throughout the podcast.
The beginning of WWDA dates back to the International Year of the Disabled Person in 1981, when Australia funded male delegates to attend the first Disabled People’s International World Assembly in Singapore, but they expected women to pay their own way. Upon returning to Australia, the women delegates passed a motion in 1991, resolving to develop their own organisation, and three years later, in 1994, WWDA was established. Since this time, WWDA has come an enormous way in platforming the voices of women with disability, but still to this day, faces barriers to having the stories of our members taken seriously. And that brings us to this podcast, that our WWDA Youth Network have decided to create for this exact purpose, to platform the voices of disabled women and girls.
So now I’m going to introduce Jade, who is a member of our WWDA Youth Advisory Group, and who will be our podcast host for the rest of this series. So Jade, tell us about you. What is your name, where are you from, and what is something you would like listeners to know about you?
Hi everyone, my name is Jade. I’m originally from Bundaberg, but I’m currently living in Brisbane because of better health care. In February last year I moved from Bundaberg, I moved away from my big family, one of six. I moved down here to seek better health care, better doctors, better care. I am 27 years old. I identify as a bisexual, polyamorous woman. I am married to my husband James, have been married for 4 years, been with him for 11. I am currently living with spina bifida. I don’t have hydrocephalus, but I understand the troubles and issues that come along with that.
Last year I did something massive, and I overcame a huge achievement. I detoxed off of all my pain tablets. Well, I guess you could say lockdown was good for that reason. Pain tablets were a big thing for me, as living with a chronic disability is very, very painful. They were a complication of my disability, and something I leaned on. I didn’t realise the effects that they were giving me, and now I would like to bring light to that. Sure, I still have pain, but I’m getting through it now. I was in a wheelchair twelve months, but I’ve worked really hard at that, and now currently walking. James is a huge part of my life, I appreciate him, I appreciate what he does for me. He supports me in all my adventures, including this one.
Thanks Jade, that was a really good introduction. So how are you connected to WWDA and what got you involved?
I am a disability advocate. I work closely with WWDA, and I have followed them for a couple of years now. But due to my health care, when it was at its worst, I didn’t feel like I could be as involved or be the person I wanted to be, and I couldn’t help them as much as what I’m doing now. Once I moved to Brisbane, and I got on top of my spina bifida, I was ready to face my dream, and become a part of this organisation. How did I find it? Well one night I was scrolling through Facebook, and I see the application process. And I was like, yeah, I think I’m finally ready to do this. I think I’m finally ready to put my name up there and be like, I want to be a part of your organisation. I followed it for so many years.
And why are you passionate about making podcasts featuring women with disabilities?
I love getting voices heard. I think there are plenty of women out there who haven’t had their stories told, who haven’t got to tell their side of what happened, maybe when they were younger, the older generation, it’s all lost history if it doesn’t get told. I also think there are many more things that need light brought to them. I think the NDIS is a big thing. People don’t realise how hard it is, what people go through just to get on to it, and what it’s all involved. And then there’s the young people out there who just want their voices heard, who want to feel like they can help the world. They have really good outlooks, and I think that people should listen to them and listen to what they have to say.
Yeah, I agree. So, what are some of the things you hope to discuss in the series, and is there any particular people that you want to interview?
I really just want the stories of women with disabilities to be told, both old and young. I think that the older generation haven’t had a platform like this to tell their stories, to be able to say “hey, this happened to me.” It was a lot of different back then to what it really is now. I also think there are younger ones out there who really are trying hard to get their voice heard but are just getting lost because the media’s saturated and stuff like this now, and they may not have the chance to say what they want to say.
I also think that people don’t realise what it’s like to be young and living with a disability. Like, they deal with normal problems as well as their own set of problems. And some of them like I’ve had to do have had to move away from family, just to get better health care. Like, there’s so many different things and I think it’s important for them to have their voices heard.
Yeah, definitely. Yeah, thank you Jade, I think that was a really good introduction to our podcast. And I’d just like to let listeners know that this podcast will be running every month for at least the six months but if it’s popular, probably for longer, so we’ll see how we go. So, thank you for listening, and please stay tuned for the next one.