Gender

Countering The Challenges Faced By Women With Disabilities in Their Efforts to Attain Inclusion

Disabled women have been seen to historically face a lot of neglect even by the feminists as well as the disability rights activists. This kind of discrimination is slowly being eroded away and there is need for more to be done to achieve the goal of inclusion. There is a lot that needs to be done about the aspect of being a woman and having a disability at the same time. This can be brought to light only if the disabled women themselves are made to be part of the journey to liberation.

The personal accounts of disabled women will help in interpretation their lives and experiences. This will give the disabled women a social identity as well as a sense of belonging, basis and future advances. Women with disabilities are one of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in the society. We need to develop a better understanding of their lives in order to remove the obstacles that still remain in their way to equality.

There are ten ways we can follow to ensure proper equality of women with disabilities, these are;

  1. Support Women With Disabilities’ efforts to raise awareness on their rights and open up opportunities for them to join in all activities. Help them to lobby and advocate for the implementation of the CRPD and to challenge the negative attitudes which are perpetuating their exclusion.
  2. Pay attention to the environmental barriers that stop Women with disabilities from participating. Find out what the barriers are and try to remove them. Lack of participation by Women with disabilities does not mean they don’t want to take part – it means they can’t because something is stopping them.
  3. Acknowledge that girls and women with disabilities can be at very high risk of abuse and exploitation. Raise awareness around their vulnerability, reinforce laws to protect them, and support efforts to empower them so that they can speak out for themselves.
  4. International Development is important. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are unlikely to be achieved if the needs and capabilities of women with disabilities remain on the fringes of development policy and practice. Make sure all development programmes take proactive measures to include women with disabilities.
  5. Create inclusive opportunities for women with disabilities to take part in sports and other recreational activities. Sports in particular can be a powerful mechanism to challenge negative stereotypes and promote the integration of women with disabilities into their communities. It’s also fun and helps build friendships and peer groups.
  6. Make sure women with disabilities are brought into decision making forums and that their ideas and suggestions are given equal consideration to those of their non-disabled peers. Don’t assume they are only interested in disability issues. Make sure they are able to contribute their ideas and views in all areas of debates.
  7. Celebrate diversity. Recognize the important role women with disabilities play in creating richer, more dynamic, resourceful and respectful communities.
  8. Support the development and promotion of accessible technology because it’s clear that it is already having an impact on the ability of women with disabilities to participate.
  9. Education for all means just that! Give women with disabilities a chance to reach their potential by supporting schools, higher learning institutions and families to accept the value of education for girls and women with disabilities.
  10. Treat women with disabilities with respect: Disability is not a shortcoming to becoming a full human.

In order to reach that equality desired and meant for any human citizens of our country, driven with human dignity, preferential option for the poor and human rights as a combination of tactics, Kenya should learn the lesson that the countries like the U.S learned from the Americans with Disabilities Act:

 

Matters relating to disability should be sorted and put each in the right basket, it is high time issues of Women With Disabilities-WWDs should not be handled in a general way as mere Disability issues. We need to give this a special attention as accorded to women in the general population e.g the gender rule, the women representatives in the political arena and so many others that have been set so by the constitution.

It is high time we need to know that making accommodations to help disabled people (WWDs in particular) able to earn a living makes life better for everybody including the non-disabled in any society. We need to be open to learn how making curb (restrains) cuts makes it easier for a person with disability especially women with disabilities to make ends meet and thus be resourceful both at a family level and also at a national level. Letting a disabled woman be employed puts money into the economy instead of taking it out like it does when she sits at home.

Human dignity isn’t a zero-sum game (this is where we find that one person’s gain is equivalent to another person’s loss, in the long run in such a situation we find that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero). Giving more dignity to People With Disabilities (WWDs in particular) makes more for everybody instead of taking it away from someone else. Many persons with disabilities (especially WWDs) at one point in life, in one way or the other have been victims of marginalization and exclusion e.g being locked into a house, being taken to school late or not at all, lack of basic needs or even social life, lack of access to information and services on Reproductive Health, being marginalized and stigmatized by the society in which they live, being denied equal employment opportunities, being looked at as less women for marriage, not being included in decision making, this makes the society to treat Women With Disabilities as “adult babies”.

But persons (WWDs) with disabilities are optimistic persons and the society has optimistic people. With all that they have gone through, are still going through and are trying to beat odds, it is an indication that you just have to work a little smarter, not harder and inclusion will take its course. Finally, we need to take time and reflect on how policies that have been proven elsewhere can be adapted to local conditions at low cost and low risk because all you will be doing is copy pasting the parts that have worked for other countries.

One Comment

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