Maneka Gandhi is the Union Minister of Women and Child Development since 2014. She is also part of a ministerial panel to examine a proposed Disability Bill – Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 (RPD Bill).
Recently, she raised objections to it saying that the bill does not lay criterion for determination of mentally disabled persons. Which would have all been fine if she hadn’t gone on to add, “If a person is mentally ill like schizophrenic, how can he be given a job?”
That’s when all hell broke loose! People with various mental health issues took to social media to educate the union minister Maneka Gandhi that they can and are working. Supporters of the cause range from psychiatrists to families of people suffering from mental illnesses.
What came out of all this is a heartening Tumblr page: wecanwork.tumblr.com. Men and women diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, depression, are wilfully countering Gandhi, posting photos of themselves briefly describing the anguish they go through and how they also come out winning, every day. #WeCanWork features pictures of people from various places holding signs, telling the minister that she was wrong.
The support for the campaign is strong:
We support and uphold the tenets mentioned in the UNCRPD. Survivors of Mental illness have the right to gainful employment #WeCanWork— iCALL Helpline (@iCALLhelpline) January 28, 2016
It needs to be emphasised that disability is a heterogeneous issue and each and every category of impairment has its own limitations.