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Aging is a feminist issue. The elderly, especially the oldest of the old, are disproportionately female. Among the elderly, women are more likely than their male peers to face a number of challenges, including poverty, disability and isolation. Yet, the legal academy, including feminist legal theorists, is only just beginning to pay attention to old age and its implications. This workshop will advance this agenda by bringing together a diverse group of scholars to explore the relationship between feminist theory, law and policy, and the concerns of the aging. We will focus on understanding how the relationship between age and gender can be theorized, as well as exploring how feminist legal theory can inform policy and law in the U.S. and abroad.
“We are privileged to live in a country that committed 20 years ago to equalizing rights and opportunities for people with disabilities,” said NOD President Carol Glazer. “The disability rights movement lags behind other civil rights movements and we have to catch up. There is a role for everyone. Governments need to remove disincentives for people with disabilities so they can start to work. Businesses need to realize the enormous contributions workers with disabilities can make. Schools need to prepare students with disabilities sooner for the world of work. And Hollywood should routinely feature more people with disabilities in their TV shows and movies.”
Langevin said his temporary turn wielding the gavel marks an important step for people with disabilities and he hopes it inspires others.
“What a powerful symbol of inclusion and opportunity for anyone who wants to serve in the United States Congress,” he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Monday. Congress has become increasingly accessible in the past decade for people with disabilities, he added.
Now that it’s an official designation, the door is open for the state’s 1,400 personal care homes to apply for assisted-living status, which carries higher standards in terms of larger living space, private bathrooms, kitchen appliances, resident independence and other aspects.
No facility is required to change to meet the requirements of the new category — and it’s impractical for most older and smaller homes to do so — but if they don’t, the door is closed to them to market themselves as “assisted living.” They also will be shut out of new government funding that is supposed to cover facilities’ cost of caring for a limited number of low-income, assisted-living residents sometime in 2011.
“If indeed the state starts funding assisted-living services, it will of course encourage more providers to get into it,” said Ron Barth, president of PANPHA, a state trade group of nonprofit long-term care operators.
[Audio at the link with transcript]
Prof. PONCE DE LEON: So I have a private practice, and we designed a library for Rhode Island School of Design about now six years ago. And in the project, we designed with universal design principles.
So for example, when we designed the cubicles for the library, no two cubicles are actually the same. We used software that allows you to design for variation as a way of creating a whole range of cubicles that had different sizes, differing height tables, different height seating, different widths, so that we could accommodate many different body types in a very subtle way.
SIEGEL: So depending on one’s individual needs, one’s individual size, or for example if one used a wheelchair, you could find a space that would work for you in that.
Prof. PONCE DE LEON: Exactly. You’re actually acknowledging that we all have different degrees of abilities. So at RISD, since you have a student body that is there for four or five years at a time, there was a great possibility that a student may find actually their favorite spot, maybe because their legs are longer than the average or maybe because their height is a little shorter. And it enabled us to embed different ranges of abilities within the design of the space.
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