Minority Status


Minority status has a disproportionately negative impact on women with disabilities. A focus group study of women with physical disabilities from South Asia, Jamaica and Canada examined the impact of ethnicity and culture on sexuality.

  • A combination of culture and disability constrained them in learning about sexuality, relationship issues, and family planning issues
  • Having a disability compounded their cultural mores that discouraged open discussion of sexuality
  • While growing up, girls with disabilities were treated differently from their able-bodied sisters because families did not expect them to need intimate and marital relationships
  • Parents who arranged marriages for their able-bodied daughters did not do so for their disabled daughters
  • Asian men with and without disabilities rejected disabled women as partners
  • Women from diverse cultures had the same experiences as white women in upholding stereotypes of women with disabilities as asexual and unable to assume marital or parenting roles

Health professionals from these ethnic communities reacted negatively to disabled women becoming pregnant, from telling a woman with multiple sclerosis to have a tubal ligation to insisting that a woman with a disability abort her disabled fetus.