Women’s Day hopes for the post-pandemic world
At Light for the World, we asked a global group of accomplished women to share their hopes for a better, more equal, post-pandemic world. The results are a wise and inspiring collection of hopes and tips. These women’s wisdom—in short, quote form—include important notes on disability and should be on the reading list of all decision-makers!
Below are just a few highlights.
“A more flexible workplace”
COVID-19 has shaken up normal workplace routines around the world. Salome Wairimu Muigai, from Kenya, shares with us her top hope for the future that “Working remotely is the new norm. This is a game changer for disability.” Becky Andrews, from the USA, comments: “Although the disabled community has advocated and educated for so long; the idea of work from home and flexible hours have not been options until this year. My hope is that 2021 will also bring further discussion and support for our mental health.” Indeed!
The pandemic has also reminded us of our dependency on digital platforms. Chelsea Williamson says: “My top hope for the post-pandemic world, especially in my home country, South Africa, is that we start working towards a disability-inclusive world. We have seen how with the use of technology, disability-inclusion is possible, now is the time to see the change.”
Emily Ladau, from the USA, agrees: “My greatest hope is that society will take the lessons we've learned about the value of digital accessibility and continue to apply them to everything from employment to entertainment, long after the pandemic has ended.”
“Voice to disability rights”
With COVID-19 vaccinations beginning to roll out, serious concerns have arisen about how people with disabilities will access them. It is another timely reminder that people with disabilities must be heard in the post-pandemic world.
Fiona Jarvis, from Blue Badge Style in the UK, shares her hope that “people will understand that ‘lockdown’ is often the everyday life of a disabled person. All the frustrations of fighting an invisible enemy are those felt by disabled people. I hope this understanding will continue after COVID, making the world more inclusive.”
Paula Tesoriero, from New Zealand, says: “Worldwide, the response by governments to COVID-19 has emphasized that we are all in this together. We must ensure we give voice to disability rights in this pandemic build-back.”
Adding to this sentiment, Ana Kotur-Erkic, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, warns: “There is no room for excuses on not learning that ‘inclusive for people with disabilities’ is ‘inclusive for all’.”
“Global citizenship is valuable”
Despite nationalist trends in politics around the world, the pandemic has reminded us how interconnected we are globally – sharing the same planet, resources, challenges and hopes. Agness Chindimba, from Zimbabwe, says: “My top hope for the post -pandemic world is a world where global citizenship is valuable, where we all know what happens in one part if the world affects us all.”
Sieglinde Altreiter, from Austria, hopes we will be “more mindful of ourselves, our fellow human beings and nature.”
“Learning from obstacles”
Finally, if the last year has taught us anything as women, it’s the strength in our humanity and ability to cope in the face of even the biggest challenges. Maha Al-Bargouthi, from Jordan, says: “My top hope is for the world to be a better place with peace and prosperity, and to learn from the obstacles we faced as humanity, in order to face new challenges in a better way.”
Inka Thun, Germany, agrees – her hopes are: “that we can give each other a hug again. That people talk with each other and listen to each other. Even if they have different opinions.”
“Building a better future”
What is clear from all the responses we have had—women are central to a better, more equal future. Their contributions are invaluable and irreplaceable. But that requires the good work of women’s rights activists around the world to continue. It also requires us all to believe that things can be different and better.
As Maya Pramod, from India, shares, her hope is the post-Covid world is about “changes and the renewal of old ways.”
To conclude, Stefanie Gedenk from Germany has motivating words of encouragement for us all: “Don't be afraid of voicing your own opinion and be a part of that change.”
*From Light for the World: a big thank you to all participants in our Women’s Day communications work, which surveyed women with disabilities who were nominated for the 2020 Her Abilities Award, recognizing excellence around the globe.*