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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Women with Disabilities celebrate international women’s month

Story by Memory Chamisa

AVAILING opportunities and fair treatment of women with disabilities has been identified as key to ensuring inclusive participation of the vulnerable group in all spheres of the economy.

As the saying goes, ‘disability is not inability,’ these women are testimony that if supported and empowered the sky is the limit.

Women with disabilities this Thursday gathered in Harare to pat themselves on the back for being resilient despite the various adversities they face in their lives.

The celebrations were organised by Another Chance Executive and ZBC News anchor, Vicky Maponga.

A participant noted, ‘‘Women with disabilities suffer more than our able-bodied counterparts when it comes to mental health. First is the thought that I am disabled and that already sets me at a disadvantage as I will always have to try harder in everything that I do. If not supported well it is very difficult to navigate in the world.’’

Another participant said, ‘‘People must also know that disabled women are women too on the biological side, we can also have children, be married live normal lives too like able-bodied women without being pitied upon as we often are.’’

“As a woman with a disability, I told myself that I had the power to change the course of my life and no one else could do that for me. I can drive myself despite my disability, have an events company, cosmetics I am a busybody and don’t let anyone detect how I must live my life,” said another.

National Director of Disability Affairs in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Christine Peta underscored the need for social inclusion in ensuring equal opportunities are availed.

“According to a recent research study, a female adult with disabilities reports experiencing frequent mental distress almost five times as often as those without disabilities. People when they see a disabled woman instead of them challenging them, they often feel pity and see them as a charity case. This is just not right, through the policy that was launched by the President in June 2021, the department of disability in Public Service Labour and Social Welfare has been working flat-out to demystify that notion.

“It is very much possible for a woman with disabilities to have a family of her own and live happily ever after. The problem is people tend to discourage men who marry women with disabilities to the extent of calling them names which is mentally exhausting,” she said.

As International Women’s month comes to an end, gender equality and inclusion of women in strategic decision-making processes remain key for them to reach their full potential.

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