Author Archives: Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood

About Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood is the CBM Representative at the United Nations in New York. Elizabeth focuses on developing advocacy strategies to raise awareness, network, build capacity, and lobby for the rights of persons with disabilities at the UN level in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Inclusive Development. She also coordinates efforts of mainstreaming persons with disabilities in Agenda 2030 and conducts research and writes briefs to assist with strategies for the inclusion of persons with disabilities. Elizabeth has lived and worked in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Navajo Nation engaging in disability-focused grassroots activism and broader policymaking with emphasis on inclusive strategies and systematic change through advocacy, collaboration, and awareness. She holds a Ph.D. in Disability Studies and is fluent in Spanish and five sign languages.

March 25th: Raising awareness and preventing violence against women and girls with disabilities

The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, managed by UN Women, has proclaimed every 25th of the month as “Orange Day,” as a day to take action to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and girls. Today, March 25, 2017, UNiTE is highlighting the issue of violence against women and girls with disabilities. Click here to read more on this campaign. Because of this, I’ve dedicated today’s blog on women and girls with disabilities. Furthermore, CBM’s mandate includes gender equality, which specifically addresses multiple and intersectional discrimination faced by women and girls with disabilities. Please continue reading for more information.

Background

Persons with disabilities comprise 15 percent of the world’s population or 1 billion people of whom 80 percent lives in low- and middle-income countries. Women and girls with disabilities make up at least 50 percent of this population. Persons with disabilities are more likely to live in impoverished conditions and to be the most marginalized.

Women and girls with disabilities encounter additional barriers, including exclusion from participation in a sustainable and inclusive economy; an increased risk of violence and abuse; lack of access to justice; minimal participation in political and public life; and prejudice and discriminatory attitudes in sexual health, reproductive rights and in the right to family life.[1] Additionally, there are barriers for women and girls with disabilities to accessing justice, including with regard to exploitation, violence and abuse, due to harmful stereotypes, discrimination and lack of procedural and reasonable accommodations, which can lead to credibility being doubted and accusations being dismissed.[2] Moreover, women and girls with disabilities are largely invisible in mainstream gender-equality programs.

In terms of violence, women and girls with disabilities are at least two to three times more likely than women and girls without disabilities to experience violence and abuse,[3] and they are likely to experience abuse over a longer period of time, resulting in more severe injuries.[4] Women and girls with disabilities worldwide face a wide range of unique human rights abuses in sexual and reproductive healthcare settings, due to both their gender and disability.[5]

Linked to this, persons with disabilities encounter specific barriers in terms of accessing healthcare services, including higher costs for persons with disabilities, lack of accessible transportation, and inadequately trained medical staff. Moreover, women and girls with disabilities face additional barriers, such as enhanced constraints on traveling independently or preconceptions about whether they need certain services, such as sexual and reproductive health services.[6] An additional challenge for women with disabilities is the design and functionality of assistive devices, which are seldom designed to facilitate the different sizes and preferences of women and the type of work or daily life activities. Instead assistive devices are often designed to answer to the requirements and lifestyle of men.[7]

Studies also suggest that women with disabilities more often seek health care than women without disabilities, but have worse health outcomes and rate their well-being as lower than both men with disabilities and women without disabilities.[8] Seeking health care more often can be costly and even more so if living in poverty,[9] and additionally, women with disabilities spend more of their income on medical care and health-related expenses than men with disabilities.[10] At the same time, women with disabilities often have less disposable income and control over resources, which impact their right to an equal health status and can create a vicious circle of exclusion and ill health. Women with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 44 have almost 2.5 times the yearly healthcare expenditures compared to women without disabilities. And, women with disabilities between the ages of 45 and 64 have more than three times the average yearly expenditures of their counterparts without disabilities.[11]

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and particularly Goal 5 on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls have a key role in creating opportunities for women and girls with disabilities to fulfill their full potential. Moreover, both Article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and General Comment No. 3 recognize that women and girls with disabilities are subjected to multiple discrimination. When addressing the challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities it is imperative to use the SDGs within the frameworks of the legally binding CRPD and Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which create an effective platform from which to advocate for positive change.

I will close with some reflections and suggestions on the empowerment of women and girls with disabilities. First, it is important to be aware of the different layers of intersectionality and multiple discrimination of women and girls with disabilities, especially those such as Indigenous, youth, or other groups of women with disabilities. Second, there needs to be increased participation, engagement, and trainings between the gender movement and the disability movement to learn, exchange, and build on intersections between the movements. And, third, there must be increased and strengthened cross-movement collaboration and multi-stakeholder partnerships to truly “leave no one behind,” including women and girls with disabilities.

Thank you to Mary Keogh, Diane Kingston and Stephanie Ortoleva who contributed to this article in different ways.

Additional Information

Five Perspectives on Gender Equality

References

[1] CBM (2015). “Dialogues on Sustainable Development: A Disability-inclusive Perspective,” CBM.

[2] CRPD Committee, Gen. Comment No. 3, supra note 2, ¶ 52.

[3] United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Untied States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally 7 (Aug. 10, 2012), http://www.state.gov/documents/

organization/196468.pdf. It is worth noting that no global data exists on the incidence of such violence, and studies draw on different sources of data.

[4] SRVAW, Report on women with disabilities, supra note 26, ¶ 31.

[5] Women Enabled International Submission to OHCHR: Protection of the Rights of the Child and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, October 17, 2016

[6] CBM (2015). “Dialogues on Sustainable Development: A Disability-inclusive Perspective,” CBM.

[7] Comité Español de Representantes de Personas con Discapacidad (CERMI). (2012). “Guide to gender mainstreaming in public disability policies,” CERMI Collection no 54, Spain: pp. 289-290.

[8] WHO (2004). World Health Survey, 2002-2004. http://www.who.int/healthinfo/survey/en/.

[9] WHO and World Bank. (2011). ”World Report on Disability,” WHO Press, Geneva, p. 60.

[10] Women With Disabilities Australia. (2016). http://wwda.org.au/.

[11] Blanchard, J. & Hosek, S. (2003). “Financing Health Care for Women with Disabilities.” A RAND White Paper prepared for the FISA Foundation. www.wwda.org.au/health2001.htm.

Unidad, Desarrollo, Paz y Esperanza en América Latina y el Caribe

(Haga clic aquí para ver el blog en inglés / Click here for the blog in English)

RIADIS, la Red Latinoamericana de Organizaciones no gubernamentales de Personas con Discapacidad y sus familias, tuvo la VI Conferencia Latinoamericana de RIADIS del 13 al 17 de marzo en la Habana, Cuba. El tema era “Latinoamerica Inclusiva en Unidad, Desarrollo, Paz y Esperanza” con un Congreso Internacional, la Asamblea General de RIADIS y eventos paralelos de los Jóvenes con Discapacidad y Personas Indigenos de Discapacidad. RIADIS se fundó en 2002 en Venezuela y tiene 55 OPD en 15 países en América Latina y el Caribe, muchos de los cuales estaban en la conferencia con aproximadamente 250 participantes. La conferencia tuvo un Congreso Internacional, una Asemblea General y eventos paralelos que se centraron en juventud con discapacidad y personas indígenas con discapacidad. También, comisiones sobre personas indígenas, juventud y mujeres con discapacidad se fundieron durante la conferencia.

El objetivo principal de la conferencia era “continuar avanzando en América Latina y el Caribe en la inclusión efectiva de las personas con discapacidad, desde el trabajo unido y coordinado entre las organizaciones, los gobiernos y otros actores claves en la región, usando la CDPD, los ODS y otras herramientas de monitoreo de Derechos Humanos.” La Convención Internacional sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad (CDPD) y la Agenda 2030 para el Desarrollo Sostenible alineado con los temas “nada sobre nosotros sin nosotros” y “nadie se quede atrás.”

Alt="Presentación del panel en la conferencia"

Presentación del panel en la conferencia

Fue un honor presentar en la conferencia regional por CBM. Pude participar de diferentes maneras. Presenté dos veces durante El Congreso Internacional, fui observadora oficial de CBM durante la Asemblea General y di apoyo como intérprete de lengua de señas y español.

En la primera sesión presenté con Victor Baute de Venezuela sobre “Una mirada a la Agenda 2030 desde la perspectiva de la CDPD, y BRIDGE en América Latina.” La presentación realzó los talleres que pasaron con IDA y IDDC (Panamá) y CBM (Perú), pero al mismo tiempo hablé de la importancia y necesidad de tener más capacidad y talleres regionales para las OPD sobre la Convención, la Agenda 2030 y BRIDGE.

Alt="Intérpretes de la Lengua de Señas de la conferencia de RIADIS"

Intérpretes de la Lengua de Señas de la conferencia de RIADIS

Además, presenté el trabajo de CBM en América Latina y el Caribe. Específicamente, CBM tiene 50 proyectos en 11 países en la región. En Centro América, tenemos proyectos en Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua; en el Caribe tenemos proyectos en Cuba y Haití; y en Sur de América tenemos proyectos en Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay y Perú. Aunque trabajamos en 11 países, los países prioritarios son Bolivia, Guatemala y Haití.

Los siguientes son dos ejemplos de proyectos de CBM en la región. En primer lugar, en respuesta al huracán Matthew, CBM suministró agua a las comunidades afectadas por el huracán en el este de Cuba. En segundo lugar, CBM apoyó un proyecto de recopilación de datos sobre la prevalencia de las personas con discapacidad en Guatemala. CBM, CONADI (Consejo Nacional de la Discapacidad de Guatemala) y UNICEF Guatemala fueron financiadores de proyectos con la London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine brindando asistencia técnica. El grupo de Washington sobre Estadísticas de Discapacidad amplió el conjunto de preguntas para adultos y el grupo de UNICEF / Grupo de Washington amplió el conjunto de preguntas para los niños se utilizaron con más de 13.000 participantes. Haga clic aquí para leer más sobre la encuesta. Para terminar, me emocionó mucho la cálida bienvenida del pueblo cubano y de los participantes. Estoy muy agradecida de volver a trabajar en esta región y de conectar nuestro trabajo global a nivel local, nacional y regional.

Unity, Development, Peace and Hope in Latin America and the Caribbean

RIADIS, the Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and their Families, held its 6th international conference from 13-17 March in Havana, Cuba. The theme was “Inclusive Latin America, in Unity, Development, Peace and Hope.” RIADIS, founded in 2002 in Venezuela, is comprised of 55 organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) from 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, many of which were present at the conference with approximately 250 participants in attendance. The conference included an International Congress, a General Assembly, and parallel events on youth with disabilities and Indigenous peoples with disabilities. In addition, commissions on Indigenous, youth, and women with disabilities were established at the conference.

The overall objective of the conference was to continue to promote the progress and achievement of the inclusion of persons with disabilities from Latin America and the Caribbean. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were both strongly highlighted throughout the conference as key frameworks for persons with disabilities and their representative organizations for the region with the respective aligned themes of “nothing about us without us” and “leave no one behind.”

Alt="Panel presentation at conference"

Panel presentation at conference

I am incredibly honored for the opportunity to attend this conference on behalf of CBM. The experience was a valuable one in which I was able to participate in various ways. I presented twice during the International Congress, was an official observer during the General Assembly, and assisted as a sign language interpreter when needed.

On the opening day, I presented with Victor Baute from Venezuela on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. The presentation highlighted the regional trainings by the International Disability Alliance and the International Disability and Development Consortium (in Panama) and CBM (in Peru), but also called for further capacity building and training for regional DPOs linking the CRPD, the 2030 Agenda and BRIDGE.

Alt="Sign Language Interpreters from the RIADIS conference"

Sign Language Interpreters from the RIADIS conference

Additionally, I presented the work of the CBM regional office in Latin America and the Caribbean. Specifically, CBM has 50 projects in 11 countries throughout the region. In Central America we work in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; in the Caribbean, we work in Cuba and Haiti; and in South America, we have projects in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay with Bolivia, Guatemala and Haiti as priority countries of focus.

The following are two examples of CBM projects in the region. First, in response to Hurricane Matthew, CBM provided water supplies to hurricane-affected communities in East Cuba. Second, CBM supported a data collection project on the prevalence of persons with disabilities in Guatemala. CBM, CONADI (National Disability Council of Guatemala), and UNICEF Guatemala were project funders with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine providing technical assistance. The Washington Group on Disability Statistics extended set of questions for adults and UNICEF/Washington Group extended set of questions for children were used with more than 13,000 participants. Click here to read more about the survey.

In closing, I was very touched by the warm welcome from the Cuban people and the participants. I am so grateful to be working in this region again and to connect our global work to the local, national and regional levels.

Disability Statistics: Our Place in the Sun

The 48th session of the UN Statistical Commission took place from 7-10 March at the UN in New York with over 650 participants and 45 NGOs attending the opening session. This was an important and relevant session for our work as the SDG indicator framework was discussed and put forth for agreement, and on 10 March the UN Statistical Commission adopted the SDG indicator framework and will recommend that ECOSOC adopt it. This is another building block strengthening the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and is relevant for persons with disabilities as there are 11 disability indicators in the framework, as well as disaggregation by disability in the chapeau.

Disability was included throughout the four days with explicit inclusions in the opening, closing, and social statistics sessions. During the social statistics session, disability was strongly highlighted, and particularly positive was the push for the work of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics from some Member States/National Statistical Office (NSO) representatives.

John Pullinger representing the United Kingdom was the first to push for the Washington Group Short Set of Disability Questions calling it “the only show in town” as the tool to use for disaggregation of disability in the 2030 Agenda (see below for the full statement). Member States/NSOs that also explicitly supported the use of the Washington Group included Italy, Grenada in its national capacity and on behalf of CARICOM, Australia, Hungary, and Germany (in the opening session). Other Member States/NSOs that referred to the importance of disability statistics, but did not explicitly mention the Washington Group, included the Philippines, Cambodia, Barbados, South Africa, and the State of Palestine.

Furthermore, the UN Statistics Division hosted a disability statistics side event on “Improving Disability Statistics in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Jennifer Madans from the Washington Group on Disability Statistics presented on behalf of the United States and within her presentation highlighted the successful work of the Washington Group in the US context. Other presenters included NSO representatives from Uganda and Myanmar, whom both discussed the use of the Washington Group Short Set of Disability Questions in the statistical work at their respective national levels.

As a way forward, UN Statistics Division Director Stefan Schweinfest, provided a concise closing oral report in which he listed priorities for the work ahead regarding statistics. These include to:

Challenges included the need to:

  • Have constant discussion between statisticians and policy makers as the latter are the “holders of the purse” and the “setters of the agenda”
  • Build mutual respect and cooperation (connection from local to global) with international agencies, about which Schweinfest is “fiercely optimistic”
  • Work with civil society and the private sector (some have “trepidation because we don’t know each other,” but statistics should be about “joyful cooperation” and this can be done if we clearly agree on a division of labor with comparative advantages; and the Global Action Plan is a good tool for everyone to “find their place in the sun.”)

In closing, I’d like to echo Stefan Schweinfest’s words that “data can be the glue of the entire agenda” and in recognizing this it is important that we continue to collaborate so we all find our place in the sun in this agenda.

 

Social Statistics Statements on Disability Statistics (in order of presentation and not verbatim)

Statement by the United Kingdom, John Pullinger (at the 19-minute mark):

I too would just want to speak on one item, and that is the item relating to disability statistics. I think the work program here is very good and very positive on what has been done, but I would urge the Statistics Division to extend their ambition in the work program for 2017 in two respects. First, there has been outstanding work done by the WHO and the Washington Group to really understand the parameters of disability and help decision makers make sense of diverse and complex problems. I hope during the coming year in the work program proposed that the Statistics Division can give good guidance on how those instruments can be used in social survey programs, but also in individual country programs, which are many and varied. But the main point I’d wish to make is the link between disability questions and the Agenda 2030, and particularly on the issue of disaggregation. In that area, it is absolutely vital that we have a very simple framework for enabling people with disabilities to be counted so that none of them are left behind. And here, I think there is only “one show in town” and that is the short set of questions developed by the Washington Group that enables social survey operators to get simple classificatory data on disability that would enable their voice to be heard. And I would hope that the statistical division would be able to give clarity and guidance on this matter.

  • Italy strongly recommended a better relationship with Washington Group and the UNSD and highlighted the regional meetings of the Washington Group and that they provide capacity building (huge theme this UNSC) and technical assistance worldwide.
  • The Philippines supported the UNSD on disability statistics and its plans
  • Cambodia included the importance of disability statistics
  • Barbados included the need for disability statistics
  • Grenada on behalf of CARICOM – aligned with the UK’s statement and supported the use of the Washington Group short set and also highlighted the disability work with the Washington Group in the region and in Grenada.
  • Pali Lehohla, South Africa’s Statistician-General and Head of Statistics South Africa on behalf of South Africa supported disability statistics in his statement.
  • Australia supported the Washington Group as pragmatic and supported its further use in disability statistics.
  • Hungary supported the disability statistics work and the Washington Group, which also helps population and ageing.
  • The State of Palestine stated it would be useful to identify a particular framework on disability statistics.

Additional Information