As Nigeria joined the global community to mark International Women’s Day (IWD), Hope Inspired Foundation for Women and Youths (HIFWY) living with disabilities, has urged governments at all level to institute policies that include women with disabilities to enable them contribute their quote for the development of the society.
The Programme Manager, HIFWY living with disabilities, Omolara Daniel who made the call, said women with disabilities, were humans too and deserved to be treated with the dignity that any other woman would get. She spoke during a round table to mark the International, Women’s Day (IWD), organised by HIFWY living with disabilities with the support of Disability Right Fund (DRF) The IWD with the theme: ‘Breaking The Biases Against Sexuality Education Among Women and Girls With Disabilities,’ held in Lagos recently. According to Daniel, one of the main areas where women with disabilities are being discriminated against is when it comes to their reproductive rights.
“People think that we shouldn’t even exercise this right to the extent of getting pregnant and giving birth. “There is a wrong notion that their children will also inherit these disabilities but this has been proven wrong as many of them have children who are healthy and doing well.” However, Daniel stated: “Women are having a hard time due to the bias that are in place in our society and this just goes to show that the woman living with disability are passing through double-if not triple- of these difficulties due to their conditions.”
Furthermore, the Programme Manager, HIFWY living with disabilities, said women were being denied certain political rights because they were seen as being weaker and it was generally assumed that they would not be able to perform the tasks well if saddled with political and managerial positions. According to her, “Women have been trained to see themselves as lesser and not equal to men in the society but we shouldn’t let this deter us.
“If there is any woman who thinks that she can fill a political office and do the job well- most especially at the grassroots level- she should come out and let her voice be heard. In his contribution, Ayoola Efunkoya, a male journalist living with disability that participated in the roundtable, said that government needed to prioritise the development, empowerment and engagement of women with disabilities to enable them to be included.
“Gone are the days where these women are just given stipends and handouts. These women can do more if given the chance. Government has to make sure that these women have an enabling environment so that they can be actively engaged and be productive to themselves as well as contribute to their family and the society at large.