In India, women make up 48% of the adult population. However they continue to struggle for basic rights, despite many legal and political changes.
Girls and women who are physically disabled face even more acute discrimination. Disabled daughters are traditionally thought to bring shame and bad luck to their families and are often hidden away. There are certain myths surrounding disability and these stories are even more potent for women. It is often thought that it is not worth educating girls with disabilities because they may be unlikely to marry or have children.
The challenges faced by disabled people in India have also been noted around the world:
‘India’s surging ambition to progress as a rapidly developing nation will be impeded if it does not work consistently and rapidly to actively implement levels of acceptance, equality and inclusion of disabled people.’
– The Guardian, 2011 (UK)
Disabled women earn the lowest wages in India, and often endure oppressive working conditions. India’s National Commission for Women found that in full time employment, on average, disabled women earn only 56% of the salary of disabled men.
“When I began, they thought, ‘Who is this woman who is disabled, educated and working? They’d never seen, met or heard of a woman like me before.”
– Ranoo Vijaylakshmi, prosthetic technician
Indiability wants to integrate disabled women into mainstream employment.
We need to actively discourage discrimination to transform the lives of women and people with disabilities in our society.
Indiability can act in a practical way to change the inequality and oppression experienced by women with physical disabilities. We want to help improve crucial areas of their lives including education, health and employment. We seek to work with other like-minded organisations across the country to empower the mothers of tomorrow – whether they have disabilities or not.
“After years of struggle, disabled men have succeeded to some extent in making their voice heard. A special initiative is required to make sure that disabled women are also heard.
– Indian disability activist
–The Guardian, 2013 (UK)