Woman with disabilities suffer from a “triple” discrimination: a disability, being a female and living in poverty. Woman with disabilities in developing countries are deeply marginalized groups.
Woman with disabilities don’t attend school or vocational training due to accessibility issues, safety and neglect. This obstacle leaves them unable to support themselves financially. Woman with disabilities face discrimination as they cannot work or get married. Many countries don’t recognise the right of woman with disabilities and that they have rights to have a family or property.
The isolation is more debilitating than the actual disability itself. It lowers a woman’s self esteem and prevents her from seeing doctors, rehabilitation services, vocational training and education. Woman with disabilities are more vulnerable for sexual and physical abuse – and are portrayed as “sexless”.
Woman with disabilities are perceived as not being able to have children. Sterilisation is forced and they are pressured by society not to have children according to World Health Organisation (WHO).
African woman in rural areas are mostly sexually abused and so are their families – who know about it or are involved in abuse. They keep it a secret out of fear that they would be discriminated against and stigmatised. This starts from the belief that woman and girls with disabilities don’t have rights and cannot refuse sex even if the man is violent, aggressive, HIV positive or drunk. HIV and unplanned pregnancies are the main consequences of gender type violence for woman with disabilities.
Sometimes woman are forced to be sterilised and to terminate pregnancies as the community believes it’s for their “own good”.
In disaster situations, such as refugee camps. Woman with disabilities are extremely vulnerable. The manager of Handicap International ‘s emergency programmes, Helene Robin says:
“Not only are services poorly adapted to their specific needs (they cannot move around and do not have access to food distributions or latrines, for example), they are also at a heightened rusk of violence. This is why Handicap International ensures that vulnerable people, including pregnant and isolated woman, have access to care services and distributions to avoid situation getting worse”