On March 7, I attended “The Disabled Women’s Network: Bringing the Intersection of Gender and Disability to Light”. The speaker was Nelly Bassily. She is the director of DAWN (Disabled Women’s Network) This network focuses on girls and women with disabilities and their rights. Nelly also lives with anxiety, depression, chronic pain and post traumatic symptoms which is why it is important for her to show a light on people who deal with disabilities.
She first started by asking the audience “what first comes in your mind when you hear the word disabled?” At first, the audience did not have much to say, then one guy answered “wheelchair”. When thinking of disability, many think about someone in a wheelchair. The speaker discussed on how a lot of people have ONE image on disabled people. They think “oh this person probably can’t walk”. Nobody ever looks at the mental part of a disability, the physical side is always looked at. Most of the times, mental disabilities don’t even show. This is why we only have one image in our head when we think of disability. The speaker then asked another question “What do you guys feel when you see someone disabled?”. Most students said that they think of someone who needs support from someone else. As the discussion was going on, I started to understand that even I, myself should not have pity for someone when their disabled. It isn’t right and they don’t always need that extra support just because their disabled.The audience wasn’t as active than I would have thought. It wasn’t a full audience and the same answers were getting repeated, but I still enjoyed the event.
The key message from Nelly was really that women and kids always portrayed in a certain way because they have a disability. Our society has to be aware that these kinds of discrimination are terrible because they give a different image of what is it having a disability. The event changed my perspective on disabled people and I feel that every student should go to these kind of events to know more about the subject.