June 21, 2024
Equity VoiceRethinking Social Justice through gender and disability justice

Women with Disability and Consumerism

Everybody is a consumer in one way or another.In commercial terms consumers are individuals who purchase goods and services for personal use,in this regard consumers are key stakeholders to those who are in business /sell goods and services with an aim of making profit. Consumption is seen to be a necessity both to the consumer and the supplier which therefore leads to huge interest in consumerism which according to oxford dictionary refers to the “promotion and protection of interests of consumers”.

In the business world consumer is seen as the “king” of the market therefore pushing business owners to act in a manner that would enhance consumer satisfaction so that they can maintain their market share.More often advertisement ,promotions  and incentives are used to advance consumer interests towards certain goods and services. well,despite the economic goals and interests of businesses,these business entities are  expected to uphold certain ethical behavior within the society.More often this is usually addressed in the Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) other than in the business operation strategy .


Women make key decisions in the households in relation to consumption ….They answer most of the questions underlying consumption with regards to where,how,when ,who and why a certain product or supplier. Gender roles of women can not allow them to do any better in terms of consumer decisions.Thinking along these lines we need to be alive to the fact that these gender roles are applicable to all women including women with disabilities.

Someone may pose a question , How are business entities responsive to specific needs of customers with disabilities? Ever thought the experience of a woman with disability shopping in retail supermarkets in Kenya?  Accessible shopping is still a privilege to most women with disabilities in Kenya with very few supermarkets and malls (if any) addressing the needs of women with disabilities.  Few supermarkets have the wheelchairs which can be fitted with accessible trolleys to facilitate independence of the customer with disability as they go around shopping.Further some supermarkets have very narrow aisle that can barely allow someone on a wheelchair to comfortable shop around.

It may be argued that there are always shop assistants to help those with disabilities  with shopping ,with the easiest option being to provide a shopping list and money after which the assistants will bring the goods to the customer. The pain of this approach is that the consumer rights are taken away from the customer with disability especially the right to choice

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