chapter  1
10 Pages

Introduction

ByTulasi Acharya

This chapter introduces why Nepal is an interesting case for inquiry into policies for disabled women and how disability intersects with gender, culture, ethnicity, and sexist social attitudes. It provides a brief overview of the lives of disabled women who are hampered by gender issues and other social structural problems in the context of the Global South in relation to the Global North. This chapter also introduces how motherhood and marriages are associated with women’s empowerment in the context of Nepal. The social value ascribed to women who are wives and mothers influences people’s attitudes toward them and can further marginalize women with disabilities who experience barriers to marriage and motherhood. This chapter introduces a few disability policies and their inability to address the conditions of women with disabilities. The policies barely recognize women in the context of marriage and family. This chapter also discusses the background and problems of disabled women and underscores the idea that the research has yet to focus on the personal concerns of the disabled, including the understanding of the disabled women’s social lives and the need to develop policies related to gender, sex, marriage, and motherhood. This chapter also proposes critical sexual theory and postcolonial studies as frameworks for analyzing disability policies and the narratives of women with disabilities in Nepal. These frameworks would establish intellectual space that enables marginalized people to speak for themselves and balance the imbalanced “us versus them” binary power relationship between colonists and colonial subjects (Said, 1979; Spivak, 1992, 2010). This first chapter details the purpose of the study: exploring the meaning of disability and gender policy in the context of the Global South, especially Nepal; analyzing disability policies through the literary works (narratives) of disabled women; and informing policies through them (Griffiths & Macleod, 2008). In this chapter, a typology is proposed in terms of disability policies and narratives of women with disabilities, and the focus of research is underscored in terms of reflexive polices to discuss whether heterogeneous issues of women with disabilities are addressed. The chapter also briefly discusses the significance of the book and outlines the organization of the book, along with the research questions.