The disability paradox: Better opportunities versus the hardships of high-achieving disabled women of Ethiopia

B. Tefera Nidaw, M.L. van Engen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
68 Downloads (Pure)


This study aims to provide a better understanding of the life experiences of educated disabled women in Ethiopia. The research focuses on opportunities resulting from their disabilities, as well as the role that obstacles play in the lives of successful disabled women. Method: Qualitative, in-depth, and semi-structured interviews along with personal observations were used to explore the full experiences of participants from their own points of view, as told in their own words.
The analysis was based on interviews with 13 educated disabled women with various physical disabilities. The results of the interviews indicated the hardships faced by high- achieving disabled women and the different opportunities that resulted from these hardships (stated as paradoxes throughout the study). The categorized paradoxes consist of: paradox of disability and educational opportunity, paradox of separation from family and success, paradox of hardship in obtaining employment and related opportunities and strength, paradox of disability hardships and self-confidence and self-reliance, paradox of disability and improved quality of life, paradox of support and dependency.
This study highlights how difficult life experiences can be challenging but serves to contribute to the resilience of disabled women in their working life.
Disability paradox; Better opportunities of disabled women; Hardships of disabled women; educated disabled women; Ethiopia
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-132
JournalCanadian Journal of Disability Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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