There is strong evidence that participatory approaches to health and participatory women's groups hold great potential to improve the health of women and children in resource poor settings. It is important to consider if interventions are reaching the most marginalized, and therefore we examined disabled women's participation in women's groups and other community groups in rural Nepal. People with disabilities constitute 15% of the world's population and face high levels of poverty, stigma, social marginalization and unequal access to health resources, and therefore their access to women's groups is particularly important.We used a mixed methods approach to describe attendance in groups among disabled and non-disabled women, considering different types and severities of disability.We found no significant differences in the percentage of women that had ever attended at least one of our women's groups, between non-disabled and disabled women. This was true for women with all severities and types of disability, except physically disabled women who were slightly less likely to have attended. Barriers such as poverty, lack of family support, lack of self-confidence and attendance in many groups prevented women from attending groups. Our findings are particularly significant because disabled people's participation in broader community groups, not focused on disability, has been little studied. We conclude that women's groups are an important way to reach disabled women in resource poor communities. We recommend that disabled persons organizations help to increase awareness of disability issues among organizations running community groups to further increase their effectiveness in reaching disabled women.
Morrison, J., Colbourn, T., Budhathoki, B., Sen, A., Adhikari, D., Bamjan, J., … Groce, N. (2017). Disabled women’s attendance at community women’s groups in rural Nepal. Health Promotion International, 32(3), 464–474. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dav099