Rights of women with disabilities central to women empowerment

As women’s month dawns on South Africa, the rights of women are at the forefront of discussions. Although these are important conversations to have, the question remains: Will women with disabilities be included or be side-lined? Their concerns written off as a topic for the disability community?

Unfortunately, women with disabilities often have to balance on the tight rope between women’s rights issues and disability rights issues. For example, feminist groups might harshly debate the right of women to earn the same salary as their male counterparts, but neglect to consider how disability might play a role.

Arguably, a bigger concern for women with disabilities are accessing employment in the first place. Employers might sit with ill-informed, inaccurate prejudices or companies may be inaccessible. When an opportunity arises, the women compete with their male counterpart who might win because of the prejudices against women.

When feminists debate issues around abuse, do they consider the abuse women with disabilities face as both women and people with disabilities? The examples are endless of how intersected disability and women’s rights are for women with disabilities.

Disability rights, especially those of women, should be central in the discussion of feminist issues. It only takes a single injury or illness to leave someone with a disability.

Fighting for the rights of women with disability is not about only support your peers who might have a disability, but about building a society that won’t exclude you once you’ve acquired a disability.

This women’s month, we encourage all our readers to share their disability rights and/or women’s rights challenges.

We will publish it on our website and feature it on the newsletter.

Simply submit your article or send us an e-mail at rollinginspiration@qasa.co.za.

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