Essay on Women and Disability: What They Have to Overcome

Essay on Women and Disability: What They Have to Overcome

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Women in today’s society are faced with many obstacles. When you include a disability in that, the struggles that are dealt with become even more enormous. Although there are various resources available, women with disabilities face higher poverty rates compounded with different forms of discrimination as well. The struggle as a woman without a disability is a very difficult one already, but when other factors are added, such as a disability and being poor as well, the struggles become overwhelming. This is true in the story “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen. Emily has conquered many obstacles with the help of her loving, yet brutally honest mother.
Living with a physical disability changes the life of a person. These people are looked down upon because they are perceived to be different. There are many different things that are seen, for example, walking different or not at all, talking different, equipment that needs to be used, for example a wheelchair, arm or leg braces/splints, or a “slow physical development”(Olsen, 319). Being different from “normal” people becomes an obstacle that becomes so huge that many people with a disability are unable to overcome it. This begins as small forms of abuse, like being made fun of or neglected and eventually into larger forms of abuse. According to Dena Hassouneh-Phillips, Ph.D. and Elizabeth McNeff, MPA:HA:
The social stigma and isolation that often accompany physical disability reduced women’s emotional defenses by lowering self-esteem and removing emotional and instrumental support from others. Moreover, disability reduced physical defenses by limiting escape options and creating the need for assistance with essential personal care, opening up opportunities for emotional, ph...


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... women with disabilities.” Disability and Rehabilitation, 2009, 31(9), 693-700. EbscoHost. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.
Nosek, M. et al. “National Study of Women with Physical Disabilities: Final Report.” Sexuality and Disability, 2001, 19, 5-10. EbscoHost. Web. 18 Apr. 2011
Olsen, Tillie. “I Stand Here Ironing.” Literature and the Writing Process. McMahan, Elizabeth et al. Boston: Longman, 2010, 315-320. Print.
Summers, Will et al. “Ready, Willing, and Able.” 2010. Qualityinfo.org. Web. 18 Apr. 2011
United States. U.S. Census Bureau. 2009. Web. 18 Apr. 2011
“U.S. Data on Disability Income, Housing Costs, and People with Mental Illness.” 2010. Disabled World. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.
Zitzelsberger, Hilde. “(In)visibility: accounts of embodiment of women with physical disabilities and differences.” Disability and Society,2005, 20(4), 389-403. EbscoHost. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

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