Access and Effective Use of Media by Women with Disabilities

Final project
Year of publication:


The problem identified in this project is the low observance of the rights of women with disabilities in Uganda. The goal of the project is to enhance the participation of women with disabilities in decision-making processes through media as a platform for gender equality and equity in Uganda. The Project aims to create a sustainable engagement of media to ensure that it prioritizes the inclusion and covering of issues of Women with disabilities; to create an environment where Women with disabilities can engage and use the media. The activities for this Project include capacity building of women with disabilities on effective media utilization for representation and inclusion, key stakeholders, and media engagements on responsive and inclusive visibility of women with disabilities in media, and Network building for women with disabilities to solidify channels of advocacy.

Following the principle of leaving no one behind, and the motto of nothing for us without us, it is expected that;

i) a declaration is made with specific recommendations to support the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of Agenda 2030 concerning the social inclusion of Persons with Disabilities especially women with disabilities.
ii) Enhanced gender responsiveness towards the representation of women with disabilities by the media.
iii) Increased Socio-economic and political inclusion of women with disabilities in decision-making and development processes through media as a bridging platform

A literature review informed the Project of available data on media visibility and utilization by women with disabilities in Uganda. It was discovered that 12.4% of Ugandans live with a disability, and despite the Persons with Disabilities Act 2020, there are still marginalizing gaps in the inclusion of persons with disability in development processes in Uganda[1]. Despite this, it was further observed that whereas the journey of disability in Uganda is justly celebrated, especially with visibility in mass media and the public sphere, there is still an urgent visible gap of insensitive and piteous portrayal and limitation of media towards persons with disabilities, especially women[2]. As part of the Project on Access and Effective Use of Media by Women with Disabilities in Uganda, baseline interviews were conducted with women with disabilities, who included representatives from the Vitiligo[3]; Persons with hearing impairments (deaf people); Persons with short stature; physical disability, and the visually impaired (1).

It was found that the accessibility and usability of media by women with disability differs with geographical living and, thus, medium. Most respondents stated that they access information on national or community issues through Radio/ Television (80%); some also use social media (40%) platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube to access national or community issues information. Only (20%) (1) Participant, the Executive Director of Vitiligo, stated that she sometimes uses Newspapers to access information on national or community issues. Other means through which respondents access information are churches, friends, village meetings, phones, and Village Health teams, among others.

It was also found that women with disabilities living in urban areas are exposed to all media, especially social media access, and use, while those in rural settings only access radio stations. Also, whereas they can follow the media discussions through listening in, reading, or watching, the media minimally includes their voices or programs on issues that affect them. In the physical sense of accessibility, the infrastructure of these media houses can't favor those with physical bodily limitations, as there are no ramps or extended support for studio access. As such, relatives play a significant role in primarily expressing their issues to the media or sharing information of national and community interest.

This, therefore, means that there is a need to engage media practitioners, including media owners, managers, editors, and reporters, to strive hard to be sensitive and incorporate issues of persons with disabilities in their programming so that their issues are part of the development agenda in the country. This will enhance the participation of women with disabilities in decision-making processes in media as a platform for gender equality and equity.