Karleen Plunkett

Karleen is a proud Victorian woman with a disability, who works to empower others with disabilities and influence systemic change.

Honour Roll

Karleen has cerebral palsy and currently works as the Latrobe City Council Disability Services Officer. In this role, Karleen has demonstrated her strong community spirit by ensuring that all community members, and in particular those with a disability, have access to all council services and facilities.

In the early 1990s, in response to an identified lack of opportunities for women with disabilities in obtaining equitable training and employment, Karleen began to advocate for equal rights for women with disabilities through her role with the Disability Employment Advocacy Centre.

During that time, Karleen became a peer educator for the "Paps I Should” project at Women's Health West. As the Peer Education Program Coordinator, she implemented statewide initiatives including an education program to encourage women with disabilities to undergo pap testing and breast checks. During this time, Karleen began to observe the inequality faced by women with disabilities and knew that she could make a difference.

Karleen's unwavering commitment to advocating for the rights and opportunities for women with disabilities has also been demonstrated through the numerous positions she has held within the sector, including the Victorian Local Government Disability Planner's Network Leadership Group, the Public Transport Advisory Committee, the Statewide Steering Committee to Reduce Sexual Assault and the Victorian Disability Advisory Council.

Karleen continues to advocate for the needs of all Victorians to be included in policy development and implementation. Whether it is access to health and transport, reducing violence against women with disabilities and their children, advocacy or access to justice, Karleen's continued commitment to the cause and contribution to the sector is unquestionable.