Superheroes of SRH: Zoe Dorrity

Workforce Development Officer, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Women with Disabilities Victoria

1. How are you working to improve sexual and reproductive health?

I’m working on a project to improve access to reproductive and sexual health services for women with disabilities. We are providing workforce development in the form of training and resources to community and health workers in the Northern and Metro region. We are working in partnership with Women’s Health in The North and Royal Women’s Hospital.  We will be working with partner organisations to build their capacity to provide more responsive and effective sexual and reproductive health services to women with disabilities, and to breakdown negative attitudes around women with disabilities and their sexual and reproductive needs.

2. What do you love most about your work?

I love presenting and delivering training. I also appreciate being able to connect with so many talented people in the wider sexual and reproductive health sector across Victoria. I know that my work is a small piece in a wider body of work to make change.

3. Why is your work so important?

1 in 5 women in Victoria has a disability. The continuing lack of awareness and negative attitudes around disability and sex is so pervasive that women have significantly poorer sexual and reproductive health as a result. This is unacceptable. It is largely due to the community attitudes and ableism that women with disabilities needs continues to be ignored. Attitudes take a long time to shift, but I’m proud to be a part of this work to address this barrier in the community and hospitals, to ensure women with disabilities are treated with respect and receive the healthcare they have a right to and they need.

4. What do you think are the biggest sexual and reproductive health issues facing women living with a disability in Victoria?

The attitudinal barriers. We have to ask ourselves as professionals and feminists, why we are leaving women with disabilities behind? Intersectionality is more than a buzzword. Women who live at the intersections need to centred at every level in our work, rather than being an afterthought. What are you doing to centre women with disabilities in your work and make it accessible so they benefit?