Women make up half the disability population but just over a third of NDIS recipients – The Conversation (Sophie Yates, et al | February 2022)

young adult woman with disability engaged in craftsmanship in rehabilitation centre.

Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides individualised funding to nearly 500,000 Australians with disability.

This surprising and disturbing statistic should prompt two questions.  What is going on and why?  The volunteers who work at the platform are very conscious of the intersectionality and compounding nature of discrimination, prejudice and isolation.  So for example a woman who lives with a disability and resides in rural Australia will face three sets of compounding barriers to overcome.  Our services, supports and programmes need to recognise this and prioritise those who are most isolated.  The platform’s Advisory Board has four women out of six members.

Despite an even male-female split among under-65s with a disability (49% female), only 37% of NDIS participants are women and girls.

To better understand what’s behind the disparity, we interviewed 30 women about their experiences with the NDIS.

Read more: Women, rural and disadvantaged Australians may be missing out on care in the NDIS

The thing that struck us the most was how many women talked about what hard work it was being on the NDIS, or applying for it. Three women told us it was like “a full time job”.

We already knew the NDIS was very administratively complex, and increasingly people have needed to appeal their budgets to get the right supports.

This surprising and disturbing statistic should prompt two questions.  What is going on and why?  The volunteers who work at the platform are very conscious of the intersectionality and compounding nature of discrimination, prejudice and isolation.  So for example a woman who lives with a disability and resides in rural Australia will face three sets of compounding barriers to overcome.  Our services, supports and programmes need to recognise this and prioritise those who are most isolated.

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