Disable Women: Claiming for Equality
Arenas Conejo, Míriam
Sociological Theory, Phylosophy of Law and Methodology of Social Sciences University of Barcelona Barcelona, Spain
Although more than a half of people with disabilities in Europe are women and girls, it have been a general absence of gender thinking in relation to women/girls with disabilities in both women´s and people´s with disability movements. Recognising and giving space to their voices is not only a social justice issue but it also has important implications for feminist thought and praxis. The Manifesto by Disabled Women in Europe in 1997 was born with the intention of calling - for awareness and cooperation within the disability movement, within the women´s movement and in society at large, but also as a tool for "women´s with disabilities empowerment". This paper offers a general approach of these objectives ten years after the Manifesto was adopted, mainly focusing on two aspects: how women with disabilities have organized themselves across Europe in organizations for improving their lives through social and political transformation, and the synergies and distances that these groups have faced in relation to other women´s organizations. For doing so it starts by analysing the characteristics of a selection of these organizations of women with disabilities, based on Internet available information. Also considering some key documents of their activism, it becomes the basis for offering a tentative description of the similarities and differences of activism of women with disabilities across Europe. Therefore, there will be explored some of the transformative effects that their discourse may imply when addressing gender equality policies, as for example those related with care activities. In this specific case, if we attend to the Position Paper on Care Issues (2006) of the European Women Lobby, when confronting - the issues in the care sector we must recognise two sets of needs and preferences - the needs of those dependent or older people themselves and the needs of those who provide their care, recognising in turn, that women are not only the large majority of those who provide care but also of those cared for. Therefore, including the claims of women with disabilities in women´s and gender studies emerges as a key question for its transformative consequences for the women´s movement.