Exploring visions of inclusion: women’s disability activism in Georgia
This thesis aims to investigate the intersection of gender and disability rights activism in The Republic of Georgia by focusing on the narration and gendered experience of women disability activists. Since the ratification of the CRPD, disability in Georgia has been studied by looking at the discrepancy between disability policies and disabled people’s lives, pointing out the poor policy implementations, lack of human rights-based services and negative attitudes towards people with disabilities. These studies have not or only to a limited extent grasped grassroot activism around disability in Georgia. I used in-depth semi-structured interviews with 12 women disability rights activists, researchers, and professionals to investigate the gender implications of disability advocacy. Disability advocacy in Georgia is a feminized sphere, mainly due to mothers of children with disabilities being the strongest voice among disability NGOs. Gendered expectations of women as traditional “carers” of society have not only pushed women into civil society activism and disability service provision, but also made it difficult to disentangle disability rights struggles from the notion of care. Disabled women activists, however, have been marginalized within disability activism in Georgia, experiencing a dual discrimination as women and disabled. Nevertheless, disabled women activists have begun to form a social group consciousness, pointing out their own oppression form both paternalistic and patriarchal practices that prevail within disability rights activism and organisations.