Advancing the rights for women and girls with disabilities

Americas, November 24 2016

NEW YORK:  According to the World Report on Disability, an estimated one in five women around the world live with some form of disability. For them, systemic barriers such as being denied access to jobs and services mean living a life with limited participation and inclusion in society. They also happen to represent a disproportionate percentage of the world’s poor.

These high levels of social and economic inequalities create situations of acute marginalization and exclusion. This puts those with a disability at a double disadvantage.

To continue the efforts to promote the rights of women and girls with disabilities, UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) teamed up with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC) by gathering experts from around the world in Chile on 15-17 November. This was done to discuss new strategies for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Ms. Maria Soledad Cisternas, the Chair of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, discussed opportunities to promote the Committee’s recommendations by the States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

She emphasized that the inclusion of women with disabilities in mainstream women’s institutions and organizations is essential to advance their rights and perspectives in society and development.

“I believe that the women’s movement owes a great debt to women and girls with disabilities,” Ms. Cisternas said. “Today is the moment for the women’s movement to commit itself to the visibility, promotion and defense of the rights of women and girls with disabilities.”

Ms. Cisternas argued that the international system for the promotion and protection of human rights gave “clear signals to mainstream the human rights model of people with disabilities, including women and girls with disabilities in all walks of life.”

The outcome of the three-day discussions will contribute to the Secretary-General Report on the situation of women and girls with disabilities to be submitted for the 72nd session of the General Assembly.

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