Tag Archives: Persons with Disabilities

CSW61: Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work

The sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017. Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations from all regions of the world attended the session. The themes of CSW61 included: (1) the priority theme ofWomen’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work,” (2) the review theme over “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls (agreed conclusions of the fifty-eighth session),” and (3) the emerging issue/Focus area on “The empowerment of indigenous women.” CSW61 and its themes tie in nicely with CBM’s work on gender equality, specifically addressing multiple and intersectional discrimination encountered by women and girls with disabilities.

The outcome of the Commission’s consideration over the priority theme took the form of agreed conclusions, negotiated by all States. Click here to read the advanced unedited version of the agreed conclusions. The agreed conclusions include 13 explicit references to persons with disabilities. These include a reference to the UN Convention on the Rights to Persons with Disabilities (para 2), para 30 (social protection policies and infrastructure development), para 38 (labor force and inclusion in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; 2 references), para k (strengthening education, training and skills development), para t (implementing economic and social policies for women’s economic empowerment), para w (health systems), and para dd* (empowerment; 6 references).

Side Event

On 21 March, I participated in a CSW61 side event on behalf of CBM. The event, organized by the stellar organization Women Enabled International, focused on “Intersectionality and SRHR: Key to Ensuring Successful Implementation of SDGs for All.” The goal of the event was to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) achieve their objectives to end poverty and improve equality for all and that the implementation of the Goals must incorporate an intersectional lens to give full effect to the notion that this is truly “for all.”

It was truly a pleasure to be included in such a dynamic panel of activists and academics. Thank you, Stephanie Ortoleva and Women Enabled International for including me in the event! Please continue reading for a summary of my presentation.

Background

  • Persons with disabilities comprise 15 percent of the world’s population or 1 billion people of whom 80 percent live 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 be the most marginalized.
  • Women and girls with disabilities encounter additional barriers, including exclusion from participating 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.
  • Women and girls with disabilities face barriers in accessing healthcare services, including higher costs, lack of accessible transportation, and inadequately trained medical staff, and preconceptions about whether they need certain services, such as sexual and reproductive health services.
  • 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.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and persons with disabilities

  • The SRHR of persons with disabilities is not well recognized and needs specific attention.
  • Disability activists focusing on SRHR often lack resources and opportunities due to invisibility and stigmatization.
  • Technical language and processes often are not accessible, which further excludes women with disabilities.

Suggestions to ensure more inclusive/intersectionality of SRHR programs

  • Have increased participation, engagement, and trainings with SRHR experts in the gender and disability movements to learn, exchange, build on intersections, and engage in collaborative advocacy between movements.
  • Understand the connections and intersections between SRHR and disability. Organizations such as ARROW have written on disability rights and SRHR, are thinking of creating accessible formats of publications for persons with disabilities, and dedicating publications on issues of disability and SRHR.
  • Consider different types of disabilities, contexts, and geographical locations when including SRHR into programs.
  • Be aware of and sensitive to the different layers of intersectionality and multiple discrimination of women with disabilities, especially including Indigenous, youth, older, and other groups of women with disabilities.
  • Link programs with global frameworks, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs, specifically with Goal 3 on healthy lives and well-being and Goal 5 on gender equality. These Goals are crosscutting in nature regarding women, women and girls with disabilities, and SRHR.
  • Apply the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs within the frameworks of the legally binding Convention on the Rights to Persons with Disabilities and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), to create an effective platform from which to push for positive change, particularly when addressing the challenges encountered by women and girls with disabilities in health care and SRHR.

In closing, the common thread among the different movements represented (women and girls, persons with disabilities, LGBTQI, youth, Indigenous, climate change, and more) is that we must have inclusion, empowerment, and build cross-movement collaboration to truly “leave no one behind.”

 

*The full text of paragraph dd: Promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls with disabilities and the full realization of their human rights and their inclusion in society, and take measures to ensure that women with disabilities have access to decent work on an equal basis with others in the public and private sectors, that labour markets and work environments are open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities, and take positive measures to increase employment of women with disabilities and eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including recruitment, retention, promotion, and safe, secure, and healthy working conditions, in consultation with relevant national mechanisms and organizations of persons with disabilities.”

 

Additional information

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

Five Perspectives on Gender Equality

Women with Disabilities Are Women Too

Enforcing the Rights of Women with Disabilities

SDG 5: Gender equality and Disability Inclusive Development in the SDGs

 

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.

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

Las alianzas, la Convención de los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad, y los Objetivos para el Desarrollo Sostenible en Centroamérica

Click here for the English version of this blog.

Estuve muy contenta de participar en un taller en la Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá del 25 al 27 de enero. El taller fue organizado por el International Disability Alliance (IDA) y el International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), junto con sus miembros. El taller técnico se centró en el monitoreo de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS) en consonancia con la Convención sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad (CDPD) para las organizaciones centroamericanas de personas con discapacidad. Representantes de varias Organizaciones de Personas con Discapacidad procedían de El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y Panamá.

Fue un honor ser co-facilitadora en nombre de CBM y IDDC centrado en la Agenda 2030 para el Desarrollo Sostenible y los ODS y procesos enlazados (por ejemplo, Financiamiento para el Desarrollo, Indicadores de los ODS). Contamos además con la colaboración de Rosario Galarza (Latin-American Network of Persons with Disabilities and their Families – RIADIS), José Viera (World Blind Union), Victor Baute (RIADIS and World Federation of the Deaf) y Monica Cortez (Inclusion International), con la contribución experta sobre la CDPD de Silvia Quan (ex miembro del Comité de la CDPD)y con Tchaurea Fleury (IDA) como líder del equipo.

El objetivo primordial del taller fue examinar y fortalecer los vínculos entre la CDPD y los ODS, así como apoyar a los representantes de las OPD para compilar la información que será utilizada en los informes nacionales de los ODS y CDPD. Esto fue particularmente estratégico ya que todos los cuatro países mencionados harán informes nacionales voluntarios (VNRs) en el Foro Político de Alto Nivel (HLPF) en julio y tres de los países serán revisados por el Comité de la CDPD en Ginebra.

Alt="Los participantes del taller en Panamá"

Los participantes del taller en Panamá

El taller tuvo varios resultados positivos:

  • Los participantes ampliaron sus conocimientos sobre la CDPD, obtuvieron conocimientos sobre la Agenda 2030 y comprendieron mejor los vínculos entre los dos marcos.
  • Se contribuyó a la creación de redes regionales entre diferentes OPD y grupos de personas con discapacidad.
  • Se fortaleció la conexión entre los procesos nacionales, regionales y mundiales (derechos humanos y los ODS).
  • La información fue difundida a las comunidades después de reforzar su capacitación. Por ejemplo, al día siguiente del entrenamiento, Víctor Baute presentó en la Agenda 2030 a la Asociación de Sordos en Panamá.
  • El taller fue bastante incluyente en términos de materiales, participación, interacción y participantes (entrelos participantes asistieron grupos menos representados, por ejemplo, una activista/self-advocate, jóvenes, personas de áreas rurales y personas indígenas con discapacidades.
  • Actualmente existen diversos materiales en español relacionados con la CDPD y los ODS, los cuales pueden ser difundidos en toda la región.

Quiero expresar mi sincero agradecimiento a IDA por su apoyo y liderazgo, particularmente Tchaurea Fleury y Mariana Sánchez, en la realización de este exitoso taller.

Esta formación ejemplifica el espíritu de la Agenda 2030 como la agenda es para, por, y del pueblo. Como tal, concluiré este blog con algunas palabras clave que los participantes compartieron como sus aspectos más destacados del entrenamiento:

  • Nuevas conexiones
  • Capacidad
  • Profesionalidad y educación
  • Contenido e información en profundidad
  • Fuerzas Unidas
  • Una visión más amplia
  • Derechos
  • Inclusión
  • Igualdad
  • Aprendizaje continuo, trabajo en equipo y facilitación inclusiva
  • Perspectivas diversas
  • Trabajando juntos

Resumen del taller regional en lengua de señas & español por Victor Baute:*

 

Información Adicional

Página web del taller

Fotos del taller

Documentos del Foro Político de Alto Nivel (HLPF) en Español

 

*La intérprete hablada-española es Astrid Arias.

Gracias Alba Gonzalez por las ediciones!