GCWA: Rebecca Matheson joins the GCWA advisory group

03 Mar, 2013

First and foremost I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunty, granddaughter, mentor, employee, advocate and a woman who has been living with HIV for 19 years.

I am a long time member of the women @NAPWHA network, advising on women and HIV in Australia for the National Association of people living with HIV. I have participated in policy development and implementation at state and national levels, consulting with women’s networks and key stakeholders to ensure the lived experience of HIV is included.

I am a current member of the Core Advisory Group for WAP+, the regional network of women living with HIV in the Asia Pacific Region. Our role is to share information on a range of issues related to HIV positive women in the region, including sexual and reproductive health rights; to increase the capacity of HIV positive women to take on leadership roles; and to strengthen national networks of women living with HIV.

I am one of three women elected to represent Asia and the Pacific on the ICW Global International Steering Committee. This role includes advocating for policy and program makers to analyse their way of working and significantly and respectfully involve HIV positive women when developing, implementing and evaluating policies and programs. Through ICW Global I continue to facilitate spaces so that our members can discuss, analyse, prioritise, and exchange political ideas on the challenges faced by HIV positive women.

For the past seven years I have been the Executive Officer at Straight Arrows Inc a not for profit organisation governed by and for heterosexual people living with HIV and is the lead agency for heterosexuality and HIV in Australia. I have a proven ability to liaise and develop positive working relationships with relevant stakeholders. With an approachable and professional personality, I enjoy interacting and working with the diversity that working in the community sector brings. I have enjoyed working with colleagues to increase partner organisations ability to collaborate, network and influence policy at local, national and regional levels.

A key component of these roles are to ensure communication pathways reach individual women living with HIV, organisations and networks supporting them to manage their HIV. I continue to provide regular feedback on a range of relevant and up to date issues via various list-serves and websites, this information sharing is not limited to current issues but also includes personal dialogues, sharing of resources, reports and forum participation.

I continue to keep abreast of the priorities issues facing women living with HIV and those at risk in the Asia-Pacific region and I am able to connect the regional issues to the global context and ensure women have access to information to manage their HIV and advocate for their rights.

I will continue dialogue with key stakeholders in the region and globally to ensure that service providers and other stakeholders are listening to the lived experiences of women and HIV. I am committed to consulting with women’s networks and individual women living with HIV to bring their voices to the table and ensure that the global response is genuinely inclusive and respectful of women’s meaningful involvement at all levels of the response.

At a time when women’s voices seem to have dropped off the agenda, I believe the coalition is well placed to lead, promote and inspire a reenergized level of activism and give voice to the global issues affecting women and girls at risk of and living with HIV.

Nothing for us without us...........