By Bae Ji-sook
Disabled women face many hardships in society. Being female as well as handicapped often puts them at a great disadvantage even before birth, according to a guidebook recently published by the advocacy group, “Differently Abled Women United.”
One case cited in the book regards a mother, who took her mentally-ill teenage daughter to a gynecologist as she had just started her first menstruation. The mother asked the doctor to remove the daughter’s uterus so that she wouldn’t become pregnant.
Another is about a woman with a mental disability, who was fired by a computer component plant she had worked in for four years. She was the first among target workers the company planned to sack because she was “disabled and pregnant.”
The guidebook contains many more such cases of discrimination against disabled women at work, in society and even within their own family.
“They are wrongfully treated regarding their basic rights such as parenting and working,” said Kim Young-jin, an official at the National Rehabilitation Center, the state advocacy for disabled people.
He said that disabled people’s right to be a mother has been guaranteed by law since 1998, but they are still fighting not just against prejudices but also a lack of practical help.