By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI—NO fewer than 60 women with disabilities, yesterday pushed for the passage of the Disability Bill into law by members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly without further delay.
They gathered in front of the Assembly gate carrying placards with various inscriptions, such as, ‘Create job opportunities for women with disabilities’, ‘Respect the rights of women with disabilities’, ‘We have skills. Government provide us with necessary facilities’, ‘Black Monday for women with disabilities,” I face discrimination because I am a woman. I am discriminated against because I am a woman with disabilities; double tragedy”.
According to them, women and girls with disabilities are often sexually harassed and raped as men will propose to marry them, but will abandon them at the end, after getting them pregnant.
The leader of the women, Blessed Nwanneka, who read out the “Charter of Demand for Ebonyi State Women Living with Disabilities” stressed that the intervention impact of government towards adding value to the lives of people living with disabilities was not being felt by over 85 per cent of those affected in the state.
“We know the government has structures in place to tackle the issues of people living with disabilities and are also making interventions to support them and we commend the effort being made. However, the impact is not being felt by over 85 per cent of people living with disabilities.”
“ We are passing through untold discrimination and segregation from the society. We want more interventions from corporate bodies, government, private persons and NGOs like PDA supported by Action aid”
Also, Egwu Stella, a disabled woman lamented how she was not only discriminated against for being disabled but also for being a woman.
“This level of discrimination is too much. Men want to sleep with us in secret but believes we are not marriageable material in public”.
The Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Participatory Development Alternatives, PDA urged governments and well meaning Nigerians to identity with the plights of women with disabilities so that they can have a good sense of belonging in society.