Gender and Disability: Voices of Female Students with Disabilities on Genderbased Violence in Higher Education, Kenya.
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Higher education is considered as an important engine for overall socio-economic advancement (Negash, Olusula and Colucci, 2010). However, there is a glaring disparity in provision of higher education opportunities to students with disabilities (SWD). Furthermore, a UN report (2010) posits that available data mostly focuses on educational achievements, this indicates that female students with disabilities (FSWD) fare less well in the higher educational arena than either their male with disabilities or female without disabilities counterparts. Moreover, women and girls with disabilities experience double discrimination, which places them at higher risk of gender-based violence, sexual abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation. Stubbs and Tawake (2009) observes that despite some helpful laws, policies and systems of practice in some countries, compared to their disabled male or non-disabled female peers, women with disabilities: are less educated; experience higher rates of unemployment; are more likely to be abused; are poorer; are more isolated; experience worse health outcomes; generally have lower social status. The Higher educational needs of FSWD have yet to be taken into account by those who work to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women, as well as those who work in the field of disability (UN, 2010). This is an exploratory study of the experiences of FSWD at one of the public universities in Kenya. It gives voice to the students’ experiences of various forms of gender based violence (GBV) through their study years and how this affects their participation in campus activities. The paper further provides suggestions on how the University can enhance equalization of learning opportunities regardless of ones gender and disability.