We have a right to love : the right to marry and reproduce for women with disabilities in Uganda

Publication Type:

Journal Article


East African journal of peace & human rights, Volume 24, p.64 - 91 (2018)



<p>This article interrogates the enjoyment of sexual and reproductive rights by women with disabilities in Uganda in two capacities: the right to marry and enjoy sexual and/or romantic relationships; and their experiences of parenthood. Despite the strong legal and human rights framework guaranteeing these rights for all persons, it is commonly and yet incorrectly assumed that women with disabilities are asexual and therefore unable to enjoy the sexual rights of marriage and reproduction. As a result, the experiences and enjoyment of these rights for these women have largely been ignored and negated by society, including family members. The article highlights challenges faced by women in this regard, including discrimination and stigma suffered from the onset of pregnancy right through to motherhood, being ignored and mistreated during antenatal visits, to actual verbal abuse during delivery. The article also lists the lack of social support especially from partners, as well as the effects of intersectionality and multiple layers of discrimination faced, which restrict the enjoyment of fulfilling romantic relationships. Most of the respondents interviewed were economically destitute with limited means for their own socio-economic welfare and had to rely on parents for their livelihood, even when involved in romantic relalionships. However, it was found that there are many interventions happening at different levels within the communities sampled, that facilitate an enabling environment for women with disabilities to enjoy their sexual rights just as any other, giving a ray of hope that all is not lost.</p>