‘Rights of Differently Abled Women’ by Benaras Hindu University

‘Rights of Differently Abled Women’ by Benaras Hindu University

Nidhi is wearing a blue and yellow saree with a pink shawl over her shoulder and a bag on her lap. She is sitting in between a woman in a red salwar kameez and a man in a suit wearing a cap. They are looking at the camera and smiling. There are seats and students behind her.

Benaras Hindu University organised a national seminar titled ‘Rights of Differently Abled Women’ from 26th to 27th November 2022. Our Founder and Executive Director Nidhi Goyal was a keynote speaker at the seminar on 27 November 2022.

Nidhi spoke about why it is important to speak about women with disabilities in the overall discourse as they can slip between the cracks both in disability rights as well as feminist conversations.

The existing hierarchy in society was also highlighted, along with why disabled women were invisibilised despite being a sizeable percentage of the population — 19.2% — and the specific forms of violence faced by them, such as non-consensual surgeries that put their sexual and reproductive health at risk. Domestic abuse, isolation, neglect, sexual harassment and abuse were also mentioned as the different aspects of how disabled women experience violence.

The inaccessibility of education systems was also pointed out as it was a dialogue with university students, along with spotlights from the ‘Neglected and Forgotten’ report by Rising Flame and SightSavers India.

Nidhi also touched on vital themes around sexuality, such as bodily autonomy, consent, decision-making, access to information, infantilisation of women with disabilities, and reproductive rights.