Women's Day 2020: Let's talk about women with disabilities
This women's day, I spoke to women who battle more than gender inequality. Meet two disability and gender activists from India who are changing how we see women with disabilities.
This women’s day, let’s imagine.
Imagine a world where men and women are equal. Imagine a world where gender, in no way, impacts us adversely. Imagine a beautiful world where women don’t have to fight for representation, for visibility, for their agency to be respected or their bodily autonomy to be sacrosanct.
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one…
In an imaginary, perfect world of women and men having equal opportunities, how would we celebrate women’s day?
Maybe, just maybe, we’d finally be ready to accept intersectional feminism.
Two big scary words, and one of them is the dreaded F word!
Intersectional feminism simply means acknowledging the fact that all women have different experiences and identities.
Still too complex? Let me try again.
Intersectional feminism simply says that women aren’t at a disadvantage ONLY because of their gender. This disadvantage exists, but also with other social aspects, like race, caste, education, wealth, and so on.
What this means is that if you are an upper class, Brahmin Engineer woman; your story, your life, your experiences are very different from the experiences of a Dalit woman who works as domestic help in your home.
So back to our imaginary world. In this perfect universe, on Women’s Day, we band together as women.
We’re already running the world - but maybe it’s time to look to our left and our right and stand in solidarity with those women who are battling more than just a battle for gender equality.
This Women’s Day, I chose to talk to two women who do exactly that.
Meet Professor Anita Ghai and Dr Anubha Mahajan. Both women are activists for women with disabilities in India.
Here are their stories.
Professor Ghai is currently a Professor at School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University, Delhi.
But over and above this incredible position, she is a survivor of Polio, cancer, and two open heart surgeries - among a host of other disadvantages she has had to overcome to attain the visibility she has today.
Dr Mahajan is a dentist living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
This is a rare disease that often gets neglected; especially when women approach doctors with claims of chronic pain. Dr Mahajan has now created a community for women with chronic pain to be recognised and supported; to be believed and healed.