What I want women with disability to know on International Women’s Day

Dr. Haidi Badawi shares the 7 things she wants women with disability to know on International Women's Day. Dr. Haidi also shares the 4 things she wants everyone to do so we can change the narrative and create a society where anybody, regardless of their skills, has the possibility to thrive and lead.

This blog article was written by Dr Haidi Badawi a Board Director of People with Disability Australia. Haidi has over 25 years of STEM experience, is a global leader in inclusive leadership and women’s empowerment. She is a Geneticist /Leadership expert.

It’s International Women’s Day. I have spent today considering what I want people to know, hear and do – not just today but every day of the year.

Here are 7 things I want women with disability to know:

  1. Your Voice Matters: Your unique experiences and perspectives are valuable and needed in leadership roles. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  2. Overcome Doubts: Don’t let internal doubts or external barriers hold you back. You have the strength and resilience to overcome the challenges you face.
  3. Seek Support: Connect with others who understand your experiences. Their advice and support can be invaluable in your journey.
  4. Challenge Ableism: Recognise and challenge internalised ableism. You are not defined by your disability, but by your abilities, strengths, and contributions.
  5. Define Your Success: Success is deeply personal and subjective. It’s about finding fulfillment and purpose in what you do, not just achieving societal standards of success.
  6. Advocate for Inclusion: Advocate for more inclusive and accessible workplaces. Your advocacy can make a significant difference in creating a more inclusive society.
  7. Believe in Yourself: You are capable, deserving, and belong in leadership. Believe in your potential and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Remember, your journey is your own, and it’s okay to ask for help along the way. You are not alone, and there are many resources and supports available to you. Keep going, keep pushing, and keep believing in yourself. You are capable of great things.

Here are 4 things I want everyone to know:

Women with disability bring a unique perspective and resilience to the table, born out of their lived experiences. Yet, they often face barriers that limit their participation and leadership in the workplace. It’s time we change this narrative.

  1. Inclusion is not a favour, it’s a right. Everyone deserves to be part of a society that values their contributions and provides equal opportunities for growth and success. When we empower women with disabilities, we are not just doing the right thing, we are also enriching our communities and workplaces with diverse perspectives and innovative solutions.
  2. Representation matters. Seeing women with disabilities in leadership roles can inspire others and challenge societal stereotypes. It sends a powerful message that women with disabilities are leaders, innovators, and change-makers.
  3. Accessibility is key. An inclusive society is one where everyone can participate fully and equally. This means ensuring that our physical spaces, digital platforms, and social structures are accessible to all.
  4. Empowerment starts with us. Each one of us can contribute to a more inclusive society. Whether it’s by advocating for more inclusive policies, challenging ableist attitudes, or simply by listening and learning from the experiences of women with disabilities.

Here is what I want us all to do, together:

I hope today people commit to working collectively to create a society where anybody, regardless of their skills, has the possibility to thrive and lead. Because when we empower people with disability, we empower us all.