Women with disabilities are one of the most marginalized groups, taking daily discrimination. Women in general still have a lot of ways to go towards equality, and when you add disability to womanhood, it’s easy to see all the obstacles set by society. Women with disabilities are impacted both by gender inequality and disability discrimination. In order to fix these issues, we first need to strike a dialogue and bring these problems to the light. So here are just some of the difficulties that women with disabilities have to face every day:
Abuse and violence
One of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to abuse, exploitation and violence is women with disabilities. While there are many resources (albeit not enough) to help victims of violence, these services are often less accessible to women with disabilities. Some are not even aware that these options exist to protect them. According to research, doctors and other professionals are less likely to recognize abuse in women with disabilities, so this vulnerable group might have to live with less care, money theft, verbal abuse, etc. And women with disabilities who face interpersonal violence face poverty, injury and stress as a result.
Lack of employment
In the overall population, over 4% of the population falls into the disabled women group. Despite that, only 1.5% of the workforce is made up of women living with disabilities, which is something causing a great poverty issue for the community. People perceive women and people with disabilities to be less capable of conducting tasks, which is why they are often overlooked when it comes to hiring or promotions. Aside from facing many negative attitudes and misconceptions, there are also issues of accessibility. Many workplaces are not accessible for people with disabilities. Without work opportunities, women with disabilities are forced to live on government support and donations, which makes it hard to climb the poverty ladder and escape impoverishment. There are so many things that employers can do to uplift disabled women and use their talents.
In many cases, women with disabilities are forced to depend on other people and sacrifice their independence and privacy. Luckily there are solutions to this issue—independent living communities. In a certified supported independent living setting, women with disabilities can enjoy much more freedom, independence and privacy than at a parental home, as well as much better care. In these communities, patrons can rely on professional help, but also manage that help and use it as they need it. Autonomy, independence and socialization are necessities for everyone, and the only way to enjoy them for many women with disabilities is to join supported living communities, so these deserve all our support and help.
People with disabilities often struggle with transportation. Unless they are able to drive and afford specialized vehicles, they need to rely on inefficient public transportation that’s also often not accessible. Some communities have specialized transportation, but such an option requires changing plans around them. And without transportation, it’s almost impossible to have employment, get proper medical care, run errands independently and be social. And on top of that, women with disabilities face more frequent harassment in public transportation. This is another reason why women with disabilities face poverty.
One of the main reasons why women with disabilities struggle to escape poverty and achieve independence is high medical expenses. People with disabilities often require expensive medical care and medication, many of which are not covered by insurance. And with a lack of transportation, employment and professional care, it’s hard to stay afloat.
The only way we can expect progress is to discuss the issues that women with disabilities face on the daily basis. With education comes compassion and much better life satisfaction for all people in the world.