Focus on women and girls with disability: new advocacy paper launched

Posted on: Friday, 27th April, 2018
Women speaking at a self-help group for people with disabilities in Ghana

A new advocacy paper by CBM UK highlights the particular challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities and recommends how the UK Government can help to promote equality and inclusion through its aid and development work.

CBM UK Policy Manager Rachel Aston explains:

“Three quarters of people with disabilities in the global South are women. They routinely face disadvantage and discrimination and their capacity and abilities are often unrecognised. Women and girls with disabilities are less are less likely to have completed primary school and less likely to be employed than men or boys with disabilities, or those without disabilities. They are also more likely to experience violence or human rights violations.”

“CBM is committed to building a world where all women and girls with disability can access their rights and fulfil their potential, through our programme work, by changing attitudes and by shaping national and international policy. We hope this paper will contribute to a growing body of thinking and evidence on the intersection of disability and gender, whilst offering concrete recommendations to the UK Government on how it can shape the political landscape to further norms around non-discrimination, equality and inclusion of women and girls with disabilities.”

Read the full advocacy paper: The Intersection of Disability and Gender in the Global South: Narratives, Gaps and Opportunities.

Key Points and Recommendations

  • Women are more likely than men to live with disability, particularly in the global South. Cultural and social norms are a significant factor: women are less likely to access health care and more likely to experience poor nutrition.
  • Women and girls are more likely to face discrimination and exclusion than people without disabilities and than men and boys with disabilities.
  • Greater equality for, and inclusion of, women and girls with disabilities would be truly transformational for individuals and wider society. However, embedding such norms requires ambition, political will and a willingness to accept a rebalance of power in structures and systems.
  • Whilst challenging power imbalances, there needs to be recognition of the power and agency that disabled women and girls do have. Leadership from women and girls with disabilities is crucial – “nothing about us without us”.

CBM UK recommends that the UK Government:

  • Applies a power analysis in all of its aid and development work; and understand ‘problems’ as systems and structures that do not work for women and girls with disabilities, rather than the identities of disability and gender themselves
  • Ensures that women and girls with disabilities are included in a number of international policy frameworks
  • Consults with and includes women and girls with disabilities in the inception and design of aid and development programmes
  • Advocates for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls with disabilities through international negotiations and diplomatic relations
  • Provides training and sensitisation on disability and gender for all government departments that spend aid and development money
  • Gathers and uses data disaggregated by disability and gender to inform policy and decision making.

Read more

Advocacy paper: The Intersection of Disability and Gender in the Global South: Narratives, Gaps and Opportunities.

Blog: The intersection of disability and gender: land of the left behind? (Kirsty Smith, March 2018)

Image: women attending a self-help group for people with disabilities in northern Ghana.


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