Event: The Intersection between Disability and Sex – Representations of Disabled Women in Malta
Date: Friday 16 April 2021
Time: 12:30 - 14:00
Venue: Online (Zoom)
Speaker: Amy Joan Camilleri Zahra
Being a woman and being disabled is often associated with a higher risk of experiencing discrimination in comparison to disabled men and non-disabled men and women (Pinto, 2013). The study of representations of disabled women can aid in improving disabled women’s wellbeing and in securing their independence and autonomy (Council of Europe, 2003). In this study, the representations of disabled women in Malta were investigated. This paper reports the findings of a survey carried out in Malta in 2016 with a random sample of 526 participants. Perceptions of disabled women were investigated using 12 Like scale statements and an open-ended question asking participants to give an adjective to describe disabled women. The topics covered by the statements were employment, education, relationships and motherhood. Results were analysed using SPSS. The adjectives given by the participants in the open-ended question were analysed using Multi-Correspondence Analysis (MCA).
The results of the survey showed that there was a high rate of ambivalence when answering the statements about motherhood and relationships. Those participants who were over 50 years old and the youngest age group (16-29 age group) had more positive representations of disabled women than those forming part of the 30-49 age group. They believe that disabled women are good students and employees. There were no significant associations with gender.
The results of MCA showed that those participants who were over 65 years old tended to perceive disabled women as ‘less fortunate’ and ‘pitiable’. The participants belonging to the 16-29 age group used adjectives emanating from a perception of disability ingrained in a rights-based perspective such as ‘equal’, ‘determined’ and ‘disadvantaged’. Whilst those participants belonging to the 30-49 and 50-64 age group tended to perceive ‘disabled women’ as ‘courageous’ and ‘intelligent’ whilst at the same time as ‘fragile’ and ‘unlucky’. Implications of these findings will be discussed in the light of how representations can be changed in order to increase disabled women’s participation and social inclusion in the community.
Register with Lucienne Gellel.