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Issues for the future. Putting the jigsaw together.

Published Article
Links : a newsletter on gender for Oxfam GB staff and partners
Publication Date
July 1998
PMID: 12321576


Oxfam's efforts to support organizations working with disabled people in Bosnia highlight the necessity of taking into account other forms of disadvantage that increase vulnerability, such as gender, when planning interventions. When Oxfam began working in Bosnia in 1993, disability was widely perceived as a medical rather than a social development issue. An Oxfam-inspired inter-Association project set up the Lotos Resource Center to create badly needed joint social space and office space for vocational training. Realizing that it was difficult to reach women with disabilities, Oxfam representatives made home visits to encourage women to participate in activities. Oxfam also actively co-opted women to join the steering committee. This work gave Oxfam a better understanding of the fact that a diversity of needs exists for disabled men and women, for able-bodied women caring for disabled partners, and for women caring for disabled children. Lessons learned include 1) people with disabilities are not homogeneous in their needs; 2) it is essential to take positive action to involve disabled women; 3) gender and disability analysis must be inclusive and must consider different sources of marginalization or else marginalization will be reinforced; and 4) a basic rights approach provides a clear framework to understand dimensions of disadvantage within households.

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