Most Indian women, particularly from poor homes, lead an existence of extreme subordination with very little control over their lives. So women who are disabled not only face the usual gender discrimination but also discrimination due to their disability.
From the research done, it emerged that gender does not take a backseat, even in the lives of adolescents with disability. Boys and girls cope up with usual deep rooted gender stereotypes and prejudices. For most Indian females, opportunities for growth and development are limited and restricted by the fact that they remain â€˜protectedâ€™ in the parentsâ€™ home until they get married after that in their in-lawsâ€™ home. Doing household tasks and looking after the family is seen as the foremost duty of a girl. Freedom of movement is too restricted. There is a need to break the shackles for the empowerment of women, including those with disabilities. Empowerment means raising peopleâ€™s consciousness about the strength within by the way they view themselves and society.
Changing social attitudes and initiating a process of social mobilisation becomes imperative. Social efforts must be made to project positive images of people with disabilities, especially women. Media can be effectively be used for this purpose. Efforts can be made to sensitise the general public to the issues of women with disability whereby what is highlighted is not the physical defect that disables but the attitude and the environment which is disabling.
In the study done, the girls did not perceive discrimination against themselves based on their disability â€“ it seems that the positive school experience had helped them maintain a â€˜feel goodâ€™ feeling â€“ a factor that would play a significant role in their empowerment. It was found that the school of the adolescents in the study made tremendous efforts to educate them, give those skills and support their families.
The systemâ€™s attitude of equity in dealing with males and females had percolated to the boysâ€™ and fathersâ€™ attitude too, who treated the female subjects like any other girls. It is apparent, that educational institutions involved in inclusive education can play an important role in providing a gender- fair experience to children with disabilities and their families.
– By Ritika
(To read the full articles refer to Childhood Disability Journal Vol 3 Issue 3. )