We are golden: Choosing change and hope in 2024!
According to Statistics Canada, 30% of women in Canada live with a disability. Is that good news? It is if you are a woman, girl or gender-diverse person with a disability in Canada, because that’s the new baseline fact on which policy, budgets, programs and services should now be based.
When we first got ‘the number’, I began obsessing about the number 30. After some Googling, I learned that 30% is the magic number in population sampling. I learned that in research methodology, if you hit 30% of the population with your research, your data is golden.
What happens when you ARE 30% of the population? Are we golden now? Does this mean that finally governments, politicians and policy makers are going to do more than simply acknowledge that we exist and that we face the highest rates of gender-based violence, poverty and discrimination of all people in Canada?
When I started at DAWN Canada in 2007, the rate of women in Canada living with a disability was 15.2%. Then the long census was suspended by Prime Minister Harper (lest we forget), and when it was restored in 2017, the stats came in at a whopping 24%. And now here we are with the 2022 data, at 30% and climbing. The rates for Black, Indigenous and 2SLGBTQ+ women and gender-diverse people with disabilities are easily 35%, because we also know that oppression and discrimination increase rates of disability.
It is time for us to change those numbers and live up to what they call upon us to do. Call it critical mass, call it sample size, call it the tipping point; in 2024, we choose change.
Choose to be the leader who includes women with disabilities in positions of leadership on your team because it makes you and everyone around you stronger. Better still, choose to be the workplace that puts a woman with a disability in charge of your organization and watch it grow stronger.
Be the public servant, the director or the forewoman on the job site who stands up to the status quo and brings that 30% to your next meeting and asks everyone how can we do better, and mean it.
Be that friend, that colleague or that co-worker who now knows that wherever and whenever we are three women, we are among you. We are that sister, mother, daughter or neighbour. Or maybe, we ARE you. That’s what 30% of all women in Canada means!
To everyone out there who identifies as a woman or gender-diverse person living with a disability in Canada, or even if you don’t, know this: we are approaching six million souls from coast to coast to coast, and that means we have a critical mass of sisters, and we are golden!
DAWN Canada has been choosing hope and fighting for change for nearly 40 years. Join us.