Gender Barriers to Accessing Personalised Disability Funding Schemes

Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a major policy reform based on an international trend towards personalisation in social care. It aims to increase choice and control over disability services and supports for people with disability, thereby boosting citizen empowerment and improving health and social outcomes. However, women and girls are underrepresented in the NDIS, with female participation rate at approximately 37% since the inception of the Scheme. 

The aim of this project is to investigate gender barriers to accessing personalised disability funding. This project will particularly focus on the NDIS, but the findings may be applicable to other personalised funding schemes in disability and other policy areas (for example, aged care). Using a combination of semi-structured interviews and System Effects mapping, this project aims to identify the barriers women face in accessing disability support, particularly the NDIS.  

Interviewers will use specially designed systems methodology software which helps participants create visual causal map diagrams of identified barriers and allows participants to identify links between them. Interview data will help contextualise this information to form a richer picture than could be achieved through mapping alone. The maps can then be collated into aggregated network maps. 

The research questions/hypotheses that this study seeks to address are: 

  1. What barriers do women face in accessing the NDIS? 
  2. Are women who are NDIS participants receiving the supports they need? If not, what is the nature of this under-support and what reasons do they identify? 

This study is significant because it will fill a gap in the current knowledge on gender inequality in the NDIS. There has been no published research to date looking at why the NDIS has such low female participation and whether women as a group are having their needs met through the scheme, despite advocacy groups calling for action on this issue. 

Women with Disabilities ACT 

Women with Disabilities Victoria 

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