Introduction

‘Pandemic: Experiences and Implications’ at Ambedkar University, Delhi

‘Pandemic: Experiences and Implications’ at Ambedkar University, Delhi

A screenshot of the seminar with various people. Rukmini is introducing Nidhi on the screen.

Ambedkar University’s Outreach and Extension Division organised a Faculty Development Programme on 8 April 2022 on the theme ‘Pandemic: Experiences and Implications’. Nidhi Goyal, Founder and Executive Director, joined the webinar as a resource person for the hour-long digital event.

The programme consisted of Nidhi talking about the specific initiatives that Rising Flame took for women/persons with disabilities during the pandemic, as well as a Question and Answer section at the end.

Nidhi highlighted the COVID-19 report ‘Neglected and Forgotten: Women with Disabilities during Covid Crisis in India’ by Rising Flame and SightSavers India, as well as touched on whether (and what kinds of) networks were established with government organisations with regard to aiding women/persons with disabilities during the pandemic. 

During the programme, Nidhi brought ableist experiences faced by disabled women to the forefront since a lack of priority, coupled with barriers to access and the digital divide, made the pandemic a much harder experience for disabled women. For example: Many disabled women faced the brunt at home when they could not fulfill household responsibilities and gender roles. An exclusionary and eugenic medical logic was reinforced during the pandemic in almost all medical services — from maternity to critical care. Education also took a hit for disabled students, with discriminatory inaccessibility in digital education. 

The Question and Answer session revolved around questions regarding the methodology, process, and challenges of researching ‘Neglected and Forgotten’, as well as questions about the accessibility of our technologies — it was stressed that thinking about access every step of the way is extremely important.