Disabled Women Deserve Equal Rights

By Amelia Blackwater: For Complete Post, Click Here…

It’s Women’s History Month and the theme is #ChooseAChallenge. This month, I’m choosing to challenge the stigmas around women with disabilities.

Women with disabilities are often subjected to the double discrimination of gender and disability. This inequality is further exacerbated if they are members of other marginalized groups such as race or sexual orientation. As a woman with a physical and mental disability, I’ve worked my whole life fighting with educators, employers, and doctors to get them to take me seriously. Because of this, I’ve always had to have my father or my husband with me as an advocate for anyone to listen to me. As a grown woman, I should not have to rely on the men in my life for my voice to be heard.

Where women with disabilities need the most support, we are being failed. Disabled women are grossly left behind in healthcare. They are less likely to receive regular health screenings, are at risk for forced sterilization, and are undiagnosed due to outdated research and practices. A study in the U.S. showed that women with disabilities were significantly less likely to receive pelvic exams than non-disabled women. Women are often not taken seriously by their doctors. They are often seen as over-exaggerating their pain or faking it. Illnesses that primarily affect women such as endometriosis can take upwards of six to 10 years to be properly diagnosed. Their pain is seen as just a bad period.

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