Centring Lived Experience of Women with Disabilities

The Experts Group

At the heart of the Margins to the Mainstream Project are the women with lived experience of disability who are members of the Project Experts Group.

The members are resident in the eastern metro region and identify as women with disabilities. They include women with neurodivergence, mental health conditions and chronic health conditions.

Ten women with disabilities from the EMR joined the group in late 2020 and took part in a range of skills developments activities, together with reflection and sharing about their lived experiences to strengthen their roles as experts in the project’s other activities.

Since then, the Experts Group have worked closely together to develop key messages, social media campaign resources, videos and other resources (access here), as well as speaking at TFER and other events.

Central to the Experts’ experiences has been working together, as a group of women with disabilities, on multiple activities over an extended period.

This is very different to typical approaches to consultation where women with disabilities are consulted on a ‘one-time’ basis individually, or briefly with a group of people they do not know.

The Experts report having developed a strong rapport, mutual support and safety, as well as diverse experiences and perspectives that together contribute to the richness of their expertise as a group.

For more information about the Experts experiences, see the Project Evaluation Report 2020-22 and the Asking the Experts: a guide to best practice co-design and consultation with women with disabilities.

Many thanks to Andrea, Jody, Julie-Ann, Sam, Sandra, Tamlyn and Vivienne for their generous sharing of individual and collective expertise in the project experts group, their courage and dedication to the project and their advocacy for gender and disability equality. The contributions of Eleanor, Hayley and Sue in the experts group in 2020 and the 2021 campaign are also acknowledged.

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