The assessment of policy regulating the welfare of women living with disability: the case study of Nkandla Municipality.
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People living with disabilities, particularly women, find themselves mainly ignored and neglected when it comes to policy inclusion and gender mainstreaming in public and private sectors and society in general. Through the efforts made by the national government of South Africa to advance the rights of women living with a disability, there has been a gap in the implementation of these policies at the local level. Hence, the challenges of women living with disabilities are more noticeable in rural areas than in urban areas. In rural areas, women living with disabilities deal with limited resources and services and attitudinal and environmental factors. These challenges limit their participation and inclusion in matters determining the welfare of their lives. In most rural areas of developing regions, women living with disabilities have a greater extent of limited agility, access to health, employment, formal education, awareness, and access to information about their rights. In developing regions, many communities discriminate, dehumanize, ridicule, and exclude women living with disabilities, due to pervasive societal practices and norms which perceive people living with disability negatively. Being a woman with a disability from a low-income family often fuels hate and various forms of discrimination towards that person. This qualitative study assesses policies guiding or regulating the welfare of rural women living with disabilities to enjoy their fundamental rights and freedom. This study is delimited to studying the women living with disabilities in Nkandla Local Municipality. Utilizing a qualitative research design, data were collected through semi-structured interviews with state actors, special needs teachers, NPOs, and ordinary citizens of the Nkandla Local Municipality in disability welfare and policy assessment. Augmented by extensive literature and policy reviews, the research findings reveal that the majority of women living with a disability are not aware of their rights. The research is guided by the Feminist Disability Theory, policy implementation, and Stakeholder Theory. The interpretations of disability by the Feminist Disability Theory are beyond the impaired body parts of a person. Instead, it views disability as a broader attitudinal and environmental barrier that hinders women's functioning with impaired body parts. It is followed by policy implementation, which is immensely contextual. It determines upon economic, social, political, attitudinal, and organizational factors that impact how poorly and how good a program or policy has been implemented. Lastly, the theory that serves as the foundation of this study is the stakeholder theory that encourages effective, efficient, ethical, and practical ways to handle an organization in a multifaceted and explosive environment. The Stakeholder Theory responds to a need that emerges from PWD and their families and non-disabled people who have to interact with disabled individuals with special needs daily. Additionally, the study recommends that there should be a demonstration of political will by the government and must increase budgets for institutions that implement disability issues. The resourcing of these institutions allows them to execute their mandate effectively and ensures the progressive realization of women with disabilities rights. These efforts should include creating a vibrant disability fund to ensure reliable disbursements of grants to people with disabilities, including women with disabilities in rural areas.