Overcoming adversities: the positive lives of women with disabilities in society

The life of an individual person with the identity “A Girl-child with disability” and “A Woman with disability” in society begins with negative images of other persons in society. This attributed image compels struggling in almost all phases if the life-span of a woman with disability. Are these adversities and challenges end the paths of these lives? Obviously not, moreover, the challenges of their lives make them “Positive Lives” in our society.

Let’s discuss from the first moment of birth to know the negativity of the world: identification of children with disability at social context has been accepted over the last two decades at a mass level. Unlike adequate facilities in developed countries, developing countries have limited institutional capacity to care the children from the very early detection age of children with disabilities. It impacts a deep level to the family members of the child with disabilities. In most of the families, the parents of a child with disability get separated by an official divorce or unofficially left their wife by the husband or a father ignores his responsibilities after becoming a father of a child with disability. The facts are found regardless of the rich, middle, or poor class of the society and in developed, developing, and under-developed countries. In these families, the mothers are playing the primary role of childrearing as well as managing expenses for maintaining the family. The childhood of a child with disability becomes different from the very early stages both inside and outside the family. There are hardly disability-friendly toys, plays, and games in developing countries. For this reason, a child with a disability becomes deprived of early childhood. Later the time of school admission of a child with disability is the first step of institutional challenge.

Although almost all countries have initiated inclusive education policy the facilities for inclusion is not ensured properly. The cost of education of a girl child with disability in developing countries is more than the cost of the education of a girl child without disability or a boy child in developing countries. A few girls with disabilities overcome the adversities and can accomplish their education. The majority number is dropped out or out of education opportunities. As a result, the number of higher education completed by women with disabilities is still less than men with disabilities and women without disabilities. In developing countries, the challenges of the education and skills development of women with disabilities in rural remote villages including coastal, hill, etc. areas are double or triple times more than the education of girls without disabilities in those communities because of inadequate educational services, inaccessible vehicles, inaccessible infrastructure, poverty and lack of consciousness about the need of education of girl child with disabilities, etc. The individual integrity and education of women with disabilities help to achieve education and other skills by overcoming all challenges.

Economic empowerment of women with disabilities is affected distinctively by both educated and non-educated groups of women with disabilities. For example, in a recent couple of years, many institutions have created job opportunities for candidates with disabilities. Hardly there are women with disabilities who compete for those jobs. Therefore, the institutions recruit women with disabilities for indecent positions to fulfill the disability quota or criterion in staffing. On the other hand, human resource management in most organizations has limited policies in favor of equal opportunities in the workplace for women employees with disabilities. In many cases, women with disabilities employees are considered to be individual living women but not considered as the central contributor to their families. On this ground, employers pay low-scale salaries or honorariums to women with disabilities employees. Furthermore, the appraisal hardly recommends promotion for women with disabilities. Women with disabilities perform professional responsibilities with patience and positivity to win the negativity in the employment sector. Another important experience of women with disabilities at the workplace is found in almost all workplaces that women with disabilities have behaved like children or have indecent personalities not as decent women. Most of the colleagues have a lack of orientation about how to respect a female colleague with disability properly at the workplace. The women with disabilities who are deprived of educational opportunities and belong to extremely poor groups earn their livelihoods through informal jobs. But the payment of their hard physical labor is not paid equally even if the service is equal with others.

Another part of social life like the enjoyment and amusement of women with disabilities are still remaining too poor level. The social and cultural institutions have almost no content considering disability and gender-sensitive productions. On the contrary, individual families are hardly caring about the mental health of women with disabilities and helping them out of monotonous and overloaded family responsibilities. In addition, at times families show impropriety towards women with disabilities inspire by their profound major contribution to the families. The reason for this injustice is from families maybe because of frustration about the future of the member women with disabilities. The number of women with disabilities of unmarried or single because of divorce or left by the husband is more than married happy women with disabilities. It plays a significant role among parents and siblings to lose confidence about the potentialities of the female member with disability so the parental family misjudgment about her contribution. Thus women with disabilities are remaining at high risk of having mental health problems because of social isolation including discrimination against equal dignity at the workplace and limited value of their roles in society.

Now, we have known all about the adversities of a girl child to a woman with disabilities in this world. In spite of all the negative factors of life, women with disabilities are achieving desired education, professional identity, and social as well as cultural skills globally in their own community and with available resources. How these tiny numbers of women are overcoming all the challenges in their life? Are they being provided any extra facilities than other siblings, or as students, or as employees? The answer is: Women with disabilities overcome all these challenges with their individual patience, courage, merit, and respect towards life to be happy whatever resources they have. Thus surrounding factors cannot stop to go on their perseverance for skill development to become a competitive person in this challenging life and world. So, the perception of women with disabilities should never be with a negative phrasing anymore rather they should be awarded the title of “The Symbol of Efficiency” in a universal platform. They are “The Positive Lives” in this global village who overcome all institutional obstacles of society.

[This article was collected from her personal website‘s blog www.jannatulferdous-ivy.com/blog]

Jannatul Ferdous is a prominent writer, activist, filmmaker and voice for the excluded people. Experiencing disability in her personal life, Ivy chose her profession to promote the human rights of persons with disabilities, especially women with disabilities. She is at the forefront of advocating for equality, justice, and empowerment for women in the workplace through her films, write-ups, and human rights defender’s role.
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