I have had an opportunity of getting to hear the voice of Women With Disabilities-WWDs on their experiences of life in the society around them, and most if not all of them are not in denial with their disabilities, the main issue that they are dealing with is the societal attitutdes and treatments that they receive from the very society in which they are members and wish to participate in development. A group of the WWDs I have been able to talk to have almost the same story of life. This is what I have been able to gather and analyze:
People look down on Women With Disabilities-WWDs and they even tend to have the guts to dictate what they think you should do or not do, some even want to control how you think and how you reason and the things you get involved in that pertains to you as an individual, they dont want to have a thought that any person has a right to make choices and decisions, they want to make the decisions of your human life and especially if one happens to be depending on them for some help, when a disabled woman is financially stable, she is less likely to be faced with the negative cultural practices since she will be seen as an independent person.
One Disabled woman in an interview online said that in some communities, a disabled woman was/is considered to be a curse to the society and a sign of bad omen. The traditional African society value marriage of every woman, and when it comes to a disabled woman they had ways of marrying her that left one with so many unanswered questions. They gave a disabled woman to a man whose wife had passed on or a man who could not get a woman due to some challenges like an outcast in the community. But another respondent said that when compared, the present situation is abit better due to the contribution of formal education, she claimed that a disabled woman nowadays can get a job (though we still have a lot of discrimination in the job market against disabled women) and she is in a position to decide whom to marry without interference of the community. Another respondent said that in present days the disabled women are also good marriage partners and especially by the fact that they have disabilities which they have learnt to live with with a lot of determination and a positive attitude, most of them are automatically patient and hardworking due to familiar experience they have with hardship. Another lady with a disability in an interview, said that despite all the negativities that were experienced by the disabled women, whenever they were married off, the society took the responsibility of taking care of them, it was ensured that they had food in their homes and all the other household chores were done for them by their relatives and the relatives of the husband.
A different respondent said that since research has revealed the causes of disability, there is very little improvement from negative to a somewhat positive perceptions towards the disabled women. There was yet another respondent who claimed that the formation of disabled people’s organization has helped in both sensitizing the society and empowering the disabled women themselves and this has led to acceptance of the disabled women in the society. And finally the Women With Disabilities-WWDs said that there is still a lot to be done if at all we need to experience total inclusion of WWDs in the society, we still have some discrimination in areas of education, employment, political/decison making and also the area of marriage has not fully accepted the WWDs as wives and mothers like any other women in the society, if we have a goal with commitment to achieving equal opportunities and also acceptance then we will not hear all the cries of WWDs about any social issues in the society.