Disabilities, Access and Inclusion co-leads Deborah Stienstra and John Beaton take an intersectional approach to disability studies. Cluster projects include livelihoods and disabilities, women with disabilities, and indigenous approaches to disabilities. The cluster provides knowledge kits for inclusive practices and actionable tools. Further, the cluster considers Canadian and international disability legislation and seeks to evaluate and inform social policy to facilitate the inclusion of workers with disabilities. Disabilities, Access and Inclusion highlights the importance of the participation of people with disabilities, particularly the participation of women with disabilities.
Current and Future Projects:
Disabilities and Livelihoods in Canada
Livelihoods describe means to secure the necessities of life -- through paid work, caregiving, volunteering, market gardens, fishing, artistry, trading, among others. Livelihoods are not only the capabilities, assets and activities required for maintaining life, but also the ability to sustain these in the context of stress and shocks, over time and for future generations, and contribute benefits at the local and global levels over the short and long term. With employment rates among people with disabilities in Canada at less than 50 percent, and a resultingreliance on government transfers, we ask: how do people with disabilities in Canada survive, let alone thrive? People with disabilities continue to respond imaginatively by finding alternatives to paid work to sustain themselves and their families. This disjuncture between policy and lived experiences suggests an important and under-explored research area. The Disability and Livelihoods partnership will 1) examine how livelihoods interact with diverse experiences of disability in Canada and 2) begin to develop a strong, practical, and conceptual livelihoods approach to work and families research.
Transforming Knowledge and Activism for Inclusion Through Engaging Girls and Women with Disabilities in Vietnam in Participatory Research
Little is known about the situation of girls with disabilities in the global South. Despite growing research in disability studies and girlhood studies, there is still a gap of knowledge in relation to the inclusion of girls with disabilities in the global South. Building on a pilot project on educational rights for girls with disabilities in Vietnam, this study is developing theoretical and methodological interventions to engage and advance knowledge on educational rights for girls with disabilities in Vietnam as a part of global South.
It is a timely response to the exclusion of disabled girls and women from research production. Its interdisciplinary and participatory framework engages disabled girls in claiming their rights, while at the same time building capacity of disabled women to become co-researchers with the research team. As such, the study benefits academics and activists for disability rights, children’s rights, girls’ education and inclusive education. It connects academics and activists through inclusive and community-based methodological approaches. This study will also be of benefit for the disability community, the UN, and NGOs through its advocacy work for disability rights and children’s rights in global contexts.
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