I hope we can use this space to create a more visible presence for disabled women. I think it’s vital that our voices and our views take the ‘driving’ seat.
I was, like many of us, involved with writing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It was a good experience to see so many of us step away from the margins and have a real leadership presence. I know I came away optimistic that it would now be easier for us to effect a similar shift in our own countries, and in other related international stages.
But sad to say this hasn’t come about as much as we hoped. Disabled women are still having to work hard to make an impact- we’re still being abused or experiencing violence at a record rate, we’re still not at decision-making tables, we are still experiencing institutional abuse and too many non-disabled people still think they know what’s best for us so they talk or decide things on our behalf.
A disabled colleague once said: “If at first you don’t succeed, try again when they’re not looking” . I think, that with the wording adapted just a bit, that’s not such a bad encouragement to us. We’re a resilient and resourceful lot, so it will be good to use this in a focused way.
Kia kaha wahine toa-Be brave all you strong women