The Complete Human Narrative
By: Lakeshore Advocacy and Policy
Whether it is the Paralympic sport movement or life experiences in general, there are perspectives that are all too often missed when addressing the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities. Too often, the statistics that are referenced about vulnerable populations and the stories that are worth telling, remind us that we fall short of truly representing the complete human narrative.
On June 8, 2016, the Lakeshore Foundation, acting as conveners of some of the women who have worked tirelessly professionally and personally in the area of sport, hosted the inaugural Women with Disability in Sport Roundtable. Thirty women across fourteen different states and two different countries attended the event. This informational exchange was held with the purposeful intention of listening to the successes and areas of concerns that are unique and important to women and girls with disabilities in sport.
We feel strongly that so many of the women in attendance have already created a positive collective impact, we simply provided an opportunity to continue these conversations and collaborations in-person. They worked across specific content areas to generate common themes, as well as to highlight the breaks, unfilled spaces, which are commonly referred to as “the gaps” within the movement.
By creating this roundtable, charette and complementary focus groups we were and are able to provide a starting point for the development of goals and strategies that will both provide and advocate for a consistent message – a roadmap – to navigate the inclusion of women and girls with disability in leadership, coaching, sports administration, officiating, mentoring, media visibility and community engagement. The specific areas of investigation included Leadership and Advocacy, Role Models and Mentorship, Women’s Issues, Unification, Collaboration and Networking, Education, Media, Communication and Adapted Sport, Health and Life Transition, Inclusion/Culture and Visibility.
Leadership and Advocacy were found to be the highest priorities by the majority of the working teams, as well as within the focus group sessions (the narrative in its entirety is available upon request).
As we continue to celebrate the essence of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we were able to foster the powerful perspectives brought to the forefront by women with disability in sport and we consider it an honor to have hosted such a wide variety of women who value the fundamental human right of participation in physical activity and sport.
A copy of the Women with Disability in Sport narrative is available upon request through the Lakeshore Foundation’s Policy and Public Affairs Department as we continue to advocate on behalf of our featured initiatives and those of importance to our constituents. You may reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.