Changing the Power Equation

The proposition is: the absence of equal participation and engagement in decision-making throughout society and communities is the fundamental barrier to all people with disabilities, particularly women, taking control of their own lives.

As we have learned: The perpetuation of male domination of decision-making, ensures that women do not have access to a fair share in direction and leadership. Their abilities are confined to lower levels of society. Consequently, for women with disabilities, they are discriminated against not only by men—whether disabled or not, but also by non-disabled women themselves, and even in the disability sector itself.

The power equation of inequality needs to be changed. The exclusion of people with disabilities is a development issue. People with disabilities are systematically left out of development planning and their voice is not heard in decision-making circles. Empowerment means a change in power relationships from which everyone ultimately benefits, women, disabled and the non-disabled. A fundamental shift is required in practice and attitudes to shape each community to become fully inclusive and where people of all ages and abilities are empowered to take control of their lives.