Popular belief assumes a common agenda between old women and women with disabilities. The stereotype is that all old women are disabled and all women with disabilities may as well be old; both groups are stigmatized and marginalized, even in the feminist community.
While the two groups share social invisibility and oppression, they are different in terms of their history, political goals and philosophy. Both groups desire to distance themselves from each other; those who are disabled because they have too often been warehoused into nursing homes with the old, the old who may not be disabled and don’t want to face that possibility. Yet there exists compelling common ground as both groups struggle against their oppression.
All women face a dual task: to confront their oppressor as well as their own internalization of that oppression. Since women with multiple oppressions are more sharply confronted with both tasks, they are on the cutting edge of the vital issues all women face. They can therefore become the teachers and heroes for all women in the common struggle for empowerment and freedom.