Women with disabilities face a lot of challenges, such as inequality in education and being less likely to be hired for a job, to facing inadequate access to services in health, and housing.
One of the most difficult parts of having a disability is the emotional impact it can have on a woman’s confidence and self-esteem.
This is the reason it is so important for all of us to understand the concept of disability inclusion. This can help disabled women improve their quality of life and build confidence in their lives
Read on to learn 3 ways we can start working to support and promote disability inclusion.
A disability is when a person’s life is limited because of physical or mental impairment. A disability can cause physical constraints such as the loss of walking, running, or movement.
Along with this, a person can be disabled because of the loss of their senses such as hearing, vision, touch, taste, or smell. Also, disabilities can be mental and emotional such as a mental illness, a cognitive impairment, a brain injury, or extreme depression.
Some disabilities can be seen such as a person in a wheelchair. However, some disabilities are considered “invisible” because people may not know the person is disabled based on their initial appearance.
Some examples of these types of disabilities are having bipolar disorder, autism, severe asthma, or learning disorders.
Disability inclusion is about supporting efforts that help people with disabilities have access to all areas of normal life, such as jobs, businesses, housing, services, outdoor environment, healthcare, and events. Having easier access and opportunities to these areas of life helps people with disabilities thrive without the fear of stigma or barriers.
The reason this is especially important for women is that statistically, women are more likely than men to have a disability. Also, women in all countries are more likely to deal with more disadvantages because of their disability and their gender combined. These disadvantages can consist of not getting access to education, fewer opportunities for employment, and overall less access to products and services.
When women with disabilities are given the tools and opportunities to live their life to the fullest, they can build better self-esteem, confidence, and self-belief.
At this point, you might be wondering- how do you promote disability inclusion for women? After all, knowing what a disability is and what disability inclusion is are one thing, but the whole point is to help disabled individuals feel more included.
Here’s how to promote disability inclusion for women:
Let’s go over this process in more detail.
Be willing to have patience with all people. If a person has a visual disability such as an amputee, or is in a wheelchair, or uses a cane, be willing to be patient. It may take more time for them to move around a grocery store or pull out of a parking space or get out of a seat. Acknowledge their limitations and be patient.
You may also encounter people who don’t have visible signs of a disability however they may walk slow, or look distant or sad. They may have a stutter or overall unable to answer questions quickly. Be willing to give people time and acknowledge that they may be dealing with an “invisible disability”.
It’s important to not make assumptions or stereotype people with disabilities. People with disabilities can be of all ages, genders, and come from various ethnic groups. Don’t assume that only older adults can have a disability as young people can be disabled.
Along the same lines, don’t assume that a person needs help just because they are in a wheelchair- ask them if they need help if you see them struggling.
Don’t assume to know what a disabled person experiences just because of what you have seen in other disabled people’s lives. Speak directly to a disabled adult if you have questions concerning them. If they are cognitively aware then they can answer questions for themselves. Just remember to be respectful of people’s privacy, as not everyone wants to discuss their disability.
Advocacy is the most important thing when it comes to disability inclusion. If you work in an office or for a company, be willing to advocate for disabled people. Find out if the company has policies for disabled persons, and join company groups or attend events that discuss inclusion activities.
Also, make sure accommodations are made for persons with disabilities in the workplace. For example, during large presentations, have a sign language interpreter; have wheelchair accessibility within buildings; have a wheelchair accessible stall in restrooms.
Along with this, be active in making sure the hiring process is fair and is not biased because of a person’s disability. This could mean being intentional about having people with disabilities on the recruiting staff and building awareness with the recruiting staff around disability inclusion.
People with disabilities face a lot of challenges and barriers. Women are especially affected given that they are seen as a double minority based on gender and their disability. This opens them up to dealing with stereotypes, stigmas, discrimination, and a lack of access to resources. Not only does this affect their overall quality of life, but it also affects their self-esteem and confidence.
As a society, we can work to support disability awareness and inclusion and help decrease these issues and challenges. We can work to learn about the various forms of disabilities, understand the disability inclusion concept, and by changing our attitudes and how we interact with women with disabilities.
How will you start working to be more inclusive for people with disabilities? Leave me a comment below!
Tiffiny has a B.A. in Psychology, and master’s degree in Public Health Education. She worked in consulting for over 16 years, as well as previously owning a fitness and health business. In her personal life, she used personal development, mindset and health strategies to go from being overworked in a demanding corporate career, emotionally drained in a toxic marriage, physically unhealthy, and depressed to becoming an award-winning figure level bodybuilding athlete and entrepreneur. As a women’s empowerment coach, she works to help women get clear on their goals, build confidence, increase self-esteem, take action on their deep desires and create a life they love