People with disabilities face worst discrimination in education

11th July 2017
Botswana Federation of the Disabled (BoFOD) Chairperson, Boikhutso Majang Source:The Midweek Sun


By Sun Reporter - Reporter

What motivates you? My passion is on empowering women and girls especially those with disabilities on all aspects of their lives. I got to appreciate that the reasons why many women and girls are powerless is due to ignorance (lack of information), feminisation of poverty. Consequently, majority of women live in fear of the social norms and the powers that be and do not challenge the status quo they are socialised into for fear of being ostracised, humiliated, beaten violently, raped or, in some cases, brutally killed. Would you say the voices of women and girls with disabilities are adequately represented in the women’s rights movement? The voices of women and girls with disabilities are not adequately reprsented in the women’s rights movement, because when they are finally mentioned or discussed it’s only done in passing. Our issues are not prioritised at all.

How important would you say it is for women with disabilities to work in leadership positions? If women with disabilities are placed in leadership positions they will be in a position to advocate effectively for issues that affect women with disabilities. They will also be examples to the women with disabilities in the community and show them that disability is not inability. In your experience, what would you say are the top three issues for women and girls with disabilities? The top three issues that affect the disabled women include violence (gender based violence) unemployment and health issues (HIV/Aids, STI’s) How do you think women’s movement could work with women with disabilities, as first steps? There should be empowerment in all aspects of life by advocating and teaching them about their rights, and this empowerment should not only be done in urban areas. Women and girls in the rural areas should also be included in such empowerment activities so that they cannot be excluded in issues that affect them. You have attended the 8th Women’s institute on Leadership and Disability in the US, what are some of THE key lessons you have learnt? Leadership: Women with disabilities must develop the skills and confidence to take leadership positions.Policy legislation and advocacy: Historically people with disabilities have struggled to achieve their rights. This was often because they did not form disability coalitions or they lacked the necessary political organising and advocacy skills. Disabled women need to be empowered to participate in the process of developing or strengthening laws and policies that affect their lives. Women’s health, wellness and safety: Women and girls with disabilities are more likely to experience violence, abuse and poor health than women without disabilities. They are less likely to have access to critical services such as reproductive health, HIV/Aids education and violence prevention programs. Inclusive education: Education is the key for people with disabilities especially women with disabilities to be able to become leaders and active members in their society. Unfortunately education is usually the sector of society where people with disabilities experience the most discrimination. This is shown by statistics that shows that the boys and men with disabilities have more access to education than girls and women with disabilities.Professional development: Women with disabilities need to access the same professional development opportunities as the non-disabled women in their community.

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