"Women and disability don't mix]" Double discrimination and disabled women's rights

Gend Dev. 1995 Jun;3(2):49-53. doi: 10.1080/741921809.


PIP: Oxfam's experience with groups of disabled people has revealed that gender affects how disabled people are treated in various cultures. This experience runs counter to the often voiced (even by a consultant hired by Oxfam) assumption that gender analysis serves only to confuse any analysis undertaken of disability-based circumstances. This assumption is echoed in the disability movement itself where activists fear fragmentation through the introduction of gender analysis. Thus, gender is not yet understood as a factor which affects every aspect of life including race, class, ethnicity, caste, and disability. Because 75% of the 250 million disabled women in the world live in developing countries, development programs must consider the specific needs and rights of disabled women who suffer from double discrimination and are more likely than disabled men to live impoverished and isolated lives which lead to depression and despair. In many societies, disabled women, but not disabled men, lose their rights to marriage, family life, education, and health care. Mothers of disabled children are stigmatized, and fathers tend to "blame" defective genes on the mothers and to ignore their disabled offspring. These factors combine to make it difficult to improve the status and livelihoods of disabled women through development work. Disabled women activists have also voiced complaints about their lack of access to the preparatory meetings for the Fourth UN Women's Conference, but disabled women intend to use the Conference to lobby for their rights and to call for scrutiny of health policies which discriminate against the disabled.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior
  • Child Care*
  • Child Rearing
  • Congresses as Topic*
  • Demography
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Economics
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic*
  • Human Rights*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Population
  • Population Characteristics
  • Prejudice*
  • Social Problems
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women's Rights*