Friday, February 1, 2008

What we are about...

The following is adapted from the abstract for a conference panel several of us presented at in 2006. It is posted here as a means to get us started iscussing topics of importance to us.

Despite the American with Disabilities Act, women with disabilities continue to have an uphill climb for equality, especially in the world of work. Many researchers have described women with disabilities as having a “double disadvantage” of being female and disabled resulting in educational, economic, social and psychological barriers to success. The numbers, let alone the experiences, of disabled women in the professions are rarely documented or discussed. To live successfully-- economically, socially, and psychologically-- in the community, women with disabilities must achieve their educational and professional goals. To better partner with our non-disabled co-workers and our colleagues with physical disabilities, it is crucial that we understand the theoretical underpinnings as well as the real life struggles and successes of professional women with disabilities.

What resources in your life and work help you to be a successful professional woman with a disability?

1 comment:

  1. For me, the resources in my life were access to cutting edge rehabilitation, educational, and recreational opportunities growing up in New York City.
    My parents had the benefit of training from the "best" to learn and observe realistic expectations for me that in turn, provided me the security and trust in my own abilities. My childhood experiences were with both able-bodied and disabled kids. On Saturdays I attended a "day camp' of sorts for disabled kids, their siblings, and friends. The disabled kids were mostly polios like myself. This "day camp" (called The Carolians) was staffed by college students, many of whom also had polio to a minimum degree. They instructed the activities--dance, musical productions, photography, arts & crafts, journalism, etc... During the summer I attended camp upstate NY for two months until I was 15 run by the same agency and staffed by the same counselors. I had the benefit of role models from the time I was 7 years old. My parents also had the benefit of seeing my potential in them and the effective guidance from the agency in the form of parent workshops held monthly with speakers from all disciplines to educate them on raising a child with disabilities.
    Although I was always in a self-contained classroom in elementary school I had teachers whose academic expectations were high and I had to rise to the occasion.
    Once I began high school and then college I very naturally joined organizaations or clubs that appealed to my interests. I never felt ashamed or self-conscious about wearing braces or using a wheelchair even though I was aware of other disabled kids' self-consciousness.
    Ironically since I have worked in NM after 35+ years of successful employment in both CA and NYC, I have experienced the oppression that I often heard about from others' experiences.

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