This International Women’s Day, we explored the feminist theory called intersectionality, coined by American feminist academic, and civil rights advocate Kimberle Crenshaw and how it can be used as a framework to understand the situation of female caregivers of autistic people.
But why did we choose this topic? Autism is a feminist issue. Because of historical bias towards boys, many autistic females go undiagnosed. Also, women are more likely to become carers and provide high-intensity care for vulnerable people including autistics.
Equally, intersectionality is used to show how a woman’s experience is not just defined by gender, but by other social statuses such as race, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and more. Intersectionality gives insight into how the socio-economic status of female caregivers could be a direct barrier to accessing support for themselves and the people they care for. We believe it is vitally important that women are centred on discussing autism.
The seminar was well attended by autistic people, female carers and professionals. It consisted of an opening session, presentations, interactive sessions, and networking. The seminar discussed intersectionality, how it relates to female carers, autistic girls and women, the experience of caring for an autistic person and a safe home environment for autistic people and caregivers. The goal was to amplify the role of female carers of autistic people and empower and support them to enhance their mental and emotional well-being of them and the people they care for.
Feedback from the seminar was quite positive and constructive. All twenty-six attendees believed the seminar was very useful. All respondents to the seminar survey (50% of attendees) said the delivery was excellent and the venue was brilliant and accessible.
Respondent’s views about the structure and delivery of the seminar
‘Very collaborative and inclusive.’
‘Nice fluid relaxed delivery and input’
‘Excellent delivery. The information was very powerful.’
‘Perfect. A good combination of research and personal narrative.’
What was particularly useful?
‘Caring insights, organization’s overview, housing legal stuff, equalities act and meeting lovely nice people.’
‘Everything, especially learning about what legislation to quote.’
‘Understanding the perspectives of caregivers.’
‘Learning about who to contact if you have issues.’
Ideas for Autism Voice
‘More awareness promotion via brand.’
‘I think they should advertise globally. Their service is well needed.’
‘More support and advocacy
‘Training of teachers.’
‘More interactive and specific topic seminars.’