It’s International Women’s Day and social media is alight with empowering memes! However just like with the Women’s March there seemed to be a lack of diversity in the cause to include disabled women. Kinda ironic given disabled females are amongst the most vulnerable group in society, and even more so; disabled, poor, brown women. ✋🏽
Now, today I am more frustrated than usual because I aimed to write about IWD but today I am a zombie. With zero energy and unable to focus on anything due to, yes, the usual pain but also extreme chronic fatigue. It was a reminder of the reason disabled people often don’t get heard, because we often don’t have the energy. Even if you have a day you can go out, how do you get to a march if you can’t stand for long, risk getting shoved in the crowd, when transport is inaccessible and roads are closed off so there is no option to drive?
For example I had grand designs of attending the NHS march on Saturday morning but instead I spilt a bottle of water on my bed which I couldn’t address for a good hour (even though it was soaking through the mattress) because I needed to take meditation at a certain time, as well as pain medications and needed to eat – all to allow me to mop it up without passing out. By the time I did all of these things I was shattered, still felt like passing out and frankly ready for bed again.
Today however, I did make it out briefly for my Pap test. Kinda apt on International Women’s Day. Anyway in my comatosed state I will just try to list all the points why the exclusion of disabled women from International Women’s Day is dangerous.
Disbaled women are more likely to be excluded from the workplace and education due to lack of adheremtnt to the Equality Act
- Women are still unequal to men in society
- Women are still belittled
- Women are still expected to accept being ‘touched up’ whether in the workplace or in public
- Women are still expected to refer to such sexual assault as ‘just being touched up’
- Women are vilified if they complain about such things
- Women are vilified if they stand up for their rights in general, whereas a man is told he is ‘strong’
- Disabled women are vilified for standing up for disability discrimination
- Disabled women are told by the government they can’t be disabled if they wear makeup or brush their hair
- Women are still expected to dress provocatively in the workplace
- Disabled women are more likely to be harassed generally in the workplace
- Women still receive less pay than men in the workplace
- Disabled women receive even less pay in the workplace than able-bodied women
- Disabled women are more likely to be excluded from the workplace and education due to lack of enforcement of the Equality Act
- Women are still not protected from female genital mutilation
- Disabled women are twice as likely to be victims of violence than able bodied women
- Women’s refuges have been cut by the U.K. government
- Disability services have been cut by the U.K. Government
- Disability welfare to live independently has been cut
- Disability benefits are already below the breadline and cutting such lifelines means disabled women are even less independent and are less able to leave abusive partners
- More than 70% of disabled women in Australia have experienced sexual violence and are 40% more likely to face domestic violence than other women
- Women being sex trafficked is on the increase aided by war zones and displacement of families
- Disabled women are at an increased risk of sex trafficking
- Women are bombarded through the media with sexual images and messages which judge them by how they look and body image before/ instead of their talents, intellect or professionalism
- Women feel great pressure to adhere to these unachievable goals leading to plummeting self esteem making a woman even more vulnerable to all of the above
- Disabled women are even more vulnerable and alienated from the pressures of such media by the very nature of these conventional goals
- The most powerful country in the world is run by a racist misogynist who laughs at sexual assault and actually ‘held’ the UKs Prime Minister’s hand when she visited (vom)
- This guy also ridiculed a disabled reporter during his election campaign
- Despite all this guy still became the 45th president of the United States
- Again the most powerful country in the world
So I was kinda overjoyed in a ‘chronic fatigue and painful, I can’t move’ way this morning in bed when I came across this post which was inclusive of disabled women for once! Yay! The inequality of disabled women often doesn’t get aired and gets forgotten. For true equality we need International Women’s Day to be intersectional, and to quote @1thatgotaway and @dothehotpants on Twitter “If you don’t fight for ALL women you fight for NO women”.
And yes there were the obligatory few who genuinely felt the need to ask why there isn’t there an International Men’s Day? *Sigh* maybe because every day is International Men’s Day? Much like when #BlackLivesMatter get someone stomping their feet with ‘#AllLivesMatter‘. Stop it. When the privileged group says such a thing they are essentially negating the strive for equity even further.
Right that’s me for today. I’ve probably missed a heap of points. I don’t even have the energy to read it back, sorry if it’s the worse article ever. This post from Keah Brown made me feel a bit better as it reminded me that’s it’s ok if I’m not always on point, because I have bloody good reason.
And on second thoughts, I’m not sorry as writing this took a hell of a lot more thought and energy than the horrific so called International Women’s Day ‘Women are Beautiful’ style memes today. Missing the point much? Don’t even get me started on that one. 🙄