‘There is power in the cry of a woman’: the approach of African women with disabilities to leadership

Article


King, Julie, Edwards, Nicole and Watling, Hanna. 2023. "‘There is power in the cry of a woman’: the approach of African women with disabilities to leadership." Journal of Gender Studies. 32 (7), pp. 719-730. https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2022.2085676
Article Title

‘There is power in the cry of a woman’: the approach of African women with disabilities to leadership

ERA Journal ID10878
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsKing, Julie (Author), Edwards, Nicole (Author) and Watling, Hanna (Author)
Journal TitleJournal of Gender Studies
Journal Citation32 (7), pp. 719-730
Number of Pages12
Year2023
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0958-9236
1465-3869
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2022.2085676
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09589236.2022.2085676
Abstract

African disability activists and leaders play a key role in addressing the pervasive stigma, discrimination, and exclusion that is encountered by people with disability. An understanding of the leadership influences, styles, and priorities of female disability leaders may encourage and support the African disability movement and women’s involvement in it. The current study undertook a series of in-depth interviews that explored the life stories and leadership experiences of seven female disability leaders from Tanzania, Ghana, and Kenya. Findings indicated that although the participants had experienced significant discrimination and pain as women with disability (WWD), they had been able to draw strength and conviction from their trauma and use their experiences to connect with other WWD. The participants described leadership as the service to others and they understood the importance of unity, hope, participatory leadership, and a commitment to a common goal and purpose. Through their leadership, they sought to empower individual WWD, as well as shape a united disability movement with a strong political voice. These findings demonstrate the importance of understanding the role women can play in disability leadership, serving as a hopeful reminder that trauma and marginalization can be reconceptualized as a source of strength and compassion.

KeywordsAfrica; Disability leadership; disability rights; women with disability
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420318. People with disability
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Byline AffiliationsQueensland University of Technology
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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