It's a Matter of Perception !     

A disability is any condition of the body or mind that makes one person to do certain things differently. It doesn't mean that woman with disability are 'not able to', but have some limitations, in fact those people are abled to do things in their own way.

 

According to the World Health Organization, disability has three dimensions:

  1. Impairment in a person’s body structure or function, or mental functioning; examples of impairments include loss of a limb, loss of vision or memory loss.

  2. Activity limitation, such as difficulty seeing, hearing, walking, or problem solving.

  3. Participation restrictions in normal daily activities, such as working, engaging in social and recreational activities, and obtaining health care and preventive services. [1]

However, person with disability are capable of overcoming these dimensions of disabilities and make things happen.

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As a woman who has disability, they are outcast by society and family. Lots of rumors like they should end up their home itself, what are they doing with education, how can they get married, how can they give birth to a child and take care of a child, how can they do a profession, they can't be fruitful members, are spreading throughout society. These attitudes were negatively reflected upon the person with disability to forefront what they actually are, and as a result most of them would end up in their home since they don't want to be the scapegoat of society. This makes them more sick than their disability. Social barriers are the things that affect the majority of women with disability.

As per census 2011 (2016 updated) – In India out of the 121 Cr population, 2.68 Cr persons are disabled which is 2.21% of the total population. In a major contrast World Bank reports put this number at 4 to 8 Cr. Among the disabled population 56% (1.5 Cr) are males and 44% (1.18 Cr) are females. Out of 55% of the disabled people that are literate only 45% of females are literate compared to 65.46% literacy overall among women. 

Society often perceives people with disabilities as different from the norm. Attitude of the society

can bring a lot of change in their life..........

         Common attitude towards disability are;

a) Curiosity: Some people do not confine curiosity to them, they seek the attention of other people to the person with disability as if to share their guilt in looking at something forbidden.
b)
Pity: Pity towards the persons with disability implies that the person who feels pity recognizes the sorry state of affairs, but it also implies that the people considers the object of pity as less fortunate or less ale than others. Pity has a negative impact, because it makes its object feel inferior and secondly, it does not result in any constructive effort to  ameliorate the situation.                                                                                       

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c) Mild dislike or embarrassment: Many people feel uncomfortable in the presence of person with disability and cannot find a topic on which they can talk with such persons. This is a mild form of rejection.
d)
Repugnance: A feeling of running away from the person with a severe locomotor deformity is more common than is admitted.

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e) Indifference: Most people have the habit of being indifferent about what happens to our fellow beings unless it happens to us or to our own people. Indifference is another widely prevalent attitude.
f)
Fear: Most of the persons with disability are feared by the common man. Due to certain misconceptions people tend to avoid disabled person because of the fear that by associating with him, he may himself acquire the defect, people are panicky about catching the infection. The more severe and visible the deformity, the greater is the fear of contagion.  

h) Sympathy: It literally means “feeling with”. People tend to sympathize with disabled persons rather than being empathetic.

A Glance into Reality

Based on an article published in The Hindu newspaper on March 08 2019 about the topic 'Women with disability face more vulnerability'

Ashla Rani, a former IT professional who became a paraplegic at the age of 28 and who currently works with Pallium India, says that the additional vulnerability of disability makes women extremely helpless.

 

“I consider myself a privileged person because with the support of my family, friends and Pallium India, I have emerged as a stronger person.       Iam part of the mainstream society and have been afforded opportunities as anyone else to lead a life with dignity. That is not the case with most disabled women around us, who cannot move out of their homes and have little opportunities to interact with the outside world. Their disability instils a natural fear and distrust of society in them, prevents them from exploring opportunities or making themselves heard,” says Ms. Rani.

A disabled woman is more likely to be home-bound and have lesser chances of being married or having a family of her own than men in similar situations. [2]

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Let's try for change    

Achieve Individual Strength

The change should always begin within oneself. In this case also the attitude within the woman with disability should change. Women with disability should look into their own self and come out from the outcast state.

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What can I do with my body?

Accept your body. Don't consider your body as a barrier. Find out strength in your body. Be adventurous and try to accept challenges. Try to learn new ways that can provide strength and confidence to your body.   

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How can I gain confidence? 

Try to participate in the community and raise your voice. Speak out your needs and changes to be done in society.  

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How can I take part in communities?

Learn new skills and achieve economic independence. Take part in activity oriented programs. 

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Share your experience with other women with disability. Be an inspiration for other women with disability. Do not confine yourself to a single place, welcome different experiences.

Role of Family

 

Family can contribute a lot for the empowerment of women with disability. Accept the disability of your daughter, sister, mother, wife and consider them as an individual.

As family members what can we do for her?

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Give them proper education and provide opportunity for social engagement. Take them to all family gatherings and help them to enjoy the moment.   

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Do not treat them as a burden or shameful and hide them behind the curtain. Know the woman, her likes and wishes and support her to pursue it rather than treating it as something stupid or useless. 

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Be with their victories and encourage them to earn more and introduce them to the society proudly. Let them get a job and make opportunities to take decisions in their life.  

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How can she make her life once we are not alive?

Like all other women, let her marry, enter into motherhood and make her own family with children. 

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What could she do for living, once she lost the health to earn money? 

Like the male members in the family, women with disability also have the right for property and financial security.

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Role of Community

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The term ‘community’ embodies the importance of each and every member including the person with disability as we have witnessed that the existence of a community can allow greater change amongst the people coming from any race, culture, background and religion. Community plays a great role in the inclusion of women with disability. With the help of the community, women with disability can gain enough confidence to live their lives according to all their wishes.

Our group includes teachers, caretakers, health workers, leaders, and all. We should be aware of challenges faced by women with disability.    

We can organize social activities inclusive of women with disabilities. We have to address their difficulties and limitations and should make necessary arrangements for them

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Provide special care and attention for the women with disability.

An inclusive society

 

  • In the case of education sectors and job environments, make sure they are disability friendly for women.

  • Make sure that they are getting equal salary, ranking, promotions and all other rights.

  • Change the attitude that they are less capable and not worthy.

  • Provide access to transportation by building ramps and sign boards.

  • Let the women with disability to contribute opinions in political and societal issues.

  • Make them feel that society is inclusive to women with disabilities.

Taking action

 

Here are some ideas to vanguard women with disability to society;

  • Organize social activities that help disabled girls come out of their homes and meet other people with disabilities and other young girls.                                  

  • Share information about finding or creating work.

  • Support women who are treated badly at home or in public or in the workplace.  

  • Offer training in leadership and social skills.    

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Women with disabilities must be heard when decisions are made at every level and about every issue—not just disability issues. No one has all the answers. Everyone, women and men, both with and without disabilities, people who struggle for human rights, and for the rights of workers and for the dignity of women in all parts of the world must join together to support women with disabilities to live healthy, independent, and productive lives. When health workers, teachers, community leaders, families, and neighbors change their attitude to disability, person with disability can do their work, have strong relationships, and make the community rich and strong.