• To read the summary of the virtual event and blog on The Missing Millions form the Gender Lens Discussion of COVID-19, please click here.
  • To read the story about COVID-19 and The Forgotten People in Indonesia, please click here.
  • To read bios of speakers, panelists, and moderators, please click here. 
  • To read featured quotes from the webinar, please click here.
  • To watch the recording of the webinar, please click here and access the caption here

Virtual Event: Promoting the Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities

Objective: The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted many planned UN events. CSW64 was suspended after a one-day procedural meeting, and all side events canceled, and it is uncertain whether there will be an opportunity later in 2020 to pick up CSW discussions. The Conference of States Parties to the CRPD has been postponed until December 2020. The timelines for the Generation Equality forums currently under review. In the absence of these essential forums, we need alternative spaces for discussing and promoting the rights of women and girls with disabilities.

Therefore, this virtual event is an effort to provide this space and prevent any loss of momentum in promoting the rights of women and girls with disabilities in the global gender equality agenda. Furthermore, with the rapidly changing pace and unprecedented nature of this pandemic, we need space to react to this situation and its effect on the lives of women and girls with disabilities, and the promotion of rights. Our panelists will share their experiences and expertise on promoting the rights of women and girls with disabilities in a broad sense but also through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the event itself, these stories can be shared widely through the associated communications strategy and contribute to ensuring the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in mainstream UN gender work, including CSW and Beijing +25 processes.

Background: Women and girls with disabilities constitute 1 in 5 women globally, and up to three- quarters of persons with disabilities in low and middle-income countries. Despite their prevalence in the population, women, and girls with disabilities face multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination in all areas of life, such as chronic poverty, social isolation, heightened risks of being victims of violence and sexual abuse, denial of their sexual and reproductive rights, lack of access to community support services, lack of accessible communication and information, inadequate health care, denial of their legal capacity, lack of opportunities for education and employment, barriers in accessing justice, and attitudinal barriers such as stigma and ableism.

Women and girls with disabilities often face barriers to their meaningful participation and inclusion in mainstream gender work, at levels of decision making at the international, regional and national levels. This compounds the exclusion and discrimination found at the societal level, prevents discussion of issues important to women and girls with disabilities, and leads to policies and programs that are not inclusive of their perspectives and needs. These exclusions, barriers, and discrimination apply also to the COVID-19 pandemic and its response. Women and girls with disabilities may have increased risk for exposure to and complications of COVID-
19, and are disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of quarantine measures.

Overview: The panelists for the event will be drawn from IDA’s original CSW delegation of women with disabilities, and the discussions will be based around two guiding questions, applied both to the general movement for gender equality but also the specific COVID19 pandemic situation:

1. What are the main barriers faced by women and girls with disabilities in having their rights recognized and realized?

2. What are the most effective strategies to promote greater recognition and realization of the rights of women and girls with disabilities, by the women’s rights movement and by the disability rights movement?