Women with disabilities have been described as being doubly marginalised on account of their disability and their gender. They may be more vulnerable to poverty and social exclusion, and often have limited social, political and economic opportunities and lack of access to basic services. Women with disabilities may also be at greater risk of sexual and physical violence and abuse. Girls with disabilities often experience discrimination, for example in education and family life.
However, to address these issues it is necessary to understand the social roles of and between women and men both with and without disabilities. The exclusion experienced by women and girls with disabilities is not simply a womens issue or a women with disabilities issue, but a social issue that requires active participation of women, men, girls and boys. This can be described as a gender and development, rather than women in development, approach.
Both mainstream policies and programmes and initiatives aimed specifically at people with disabilities should have a cross-cutting gender component to ensure the inclusion and empowerment of women and girls with disabilities. This is supported by Article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
This Key list includes introductory resources on gender and disability, as well as experiences and country studies which describe the situation of women with disabilities and gender-related initiatives. Practical resources for those working with gender and disability, key policy and rights documents, and information relating to sexual health and violence issues are also highlighted. We welcome your suggestions: please send comments or suggested additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This draft paper explores the similarities between disability, poverty and gender. In it, Welch describes overlapping issues are described, setting the context for examining these issues using a single framework: the 'capabilities approach'
This paper discusses the inter-connections between gender, disability, development assistance and poverty. It further outlines models and philosophies for disabled women in Asia
This publication highlights the difficulties that women with disabilities often encounter and includes practical information on how to improve their situation. The report analyses the underlying factors of double discrimination based on gender and disability and proposes concrete actions to achieve equality. This report would be of interest to all those concerned with the fight against discrimination throughout Europe
This paper explores the challenges involved with educating women and girls with disabilities. It begins by explaining the shortcomings of data collection and information gathering, briefly explores the legislative and policy issues, and concludes with a set of policy recommendations for inclusive education. This was a background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2003/4 'Gender and education for all: the leap to equality'
This is the report of a research project on the efforts of US non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to reach disabled people. It found that there was a lack of data on the participation of disabled people especially disabled women and girls, and that these groups were also under-represented among the participants of the NGOs' programmes
This advocacy briefing paper presents key information about the inclusion of disability in gender policies and programs. It highlights key facts and issues such as women and girls with disabilities facing multiple discrimination, gaps in political and program responses and legal policy and frameworks. It outlines practical steps can be taken by development actors at different levels and suggests ways to measure progress
Advocacy briefing paper
"This report studies the significance of gender in the impact and the effectiveness of mine action. It aims at giving the reader an overview, together with concrete examples, on how gender can be mainstreamed in mine action. This publication was developed to guide staff within the mine action sector, including policy makers, programmers, donors and implementing organisations"
"This policy brief focuses on the gender dimension of small ‘p’ priority-setting for land release. Preferences identified through consultation with stakeholders from different gender, age and socio-economic groups should lead to the allocation of resources to, and concentration of activities on, tasks where impact will be the greatest"
GICHD policy brief 5
This article provides facts about gender disparities and mental health, gender specific risk factors and gender bias. Links are provided to related resources
This report provides information to assist United Nations mine action policy makers and field personnel incorporate gender perspectives in all relevant mine action initiatives and operations . It outlines how to address the needs of individuals affected by landmines by providing gender mainstreaming and assessing objectives for mine risk education, victim assistance and advocacy
This report highlights various human rights abuses against women and children on the following topics: sexual and gender-based violence targeted at women and girls with disabilities; discrimination in health and reproductive rights, including forced sterilization and HIV and disability; barriers to education for children with disabilities; violence against children with disabilities in schools; and abuses in institutions. This resource is useful to anyone interested in human rights of women and children with disabilities
"This video documents MIUSA's Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability. Interviews with participants highlight the vision, determination, challenges and recommendations of women with disabilities who are grassroots leaders in over 25 countries. MIUSA's unique model of international leadership training is illustrated as women with mobility, visual and hearing disabilities are shown in unique training workshops and team-building activities, from project development to an outdoor ropes challenge course"
Note: free viewing online of the shorter version, $19.95 for 22mins DVD available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian or French
This report explores feminist disabilities studies
The paper examines a gender mainstreaming and disability inclusive approach to ensure the inclusion of women with disabilities in post-conflict peace-building. This paper is useful to people interested in women with disabilities and post-conflict peace building
Barbara Faye Waxman Fiduccia Papers on Women and Girls with Disabilities
This report presents disabled girls and their needs and resilience, looking at a range of issues such as definitions and demographics, access to health care, substance abuse, exercise and sports, depression, self-esteem, eating disorders and body image, disability identity, role models and media images, social and sexual development, violence, educational equity, and employment
Barbara Waxman Fiduccia Papers on Women and Girls with Disabilities
This report addresses a wide range of issues -including physician assisted suicide, access to health care, reproductive rights and health, family life, education and employment, violence against disabled women and girls, and disabled women's leadership. The report also considers how applying a "disability lens" and reflecting the values and vision of disability feminism can help bring the voices of disabled women and girls to the policy arena and to feminist research, policy and advocacy agendas
This website presents information about Women Enabled (WE), a non-governmental organization working to advance the human rights of women and girls worldwide, especially women and girls with disabilities. Links are provided to a comprehensive list of women enabled issues, in addition to related news and events, media and publications and advocacy advice to take action. This website is useful for anyone interested in the advancement of human rights for women and girls
This document discusses the history of getting women with disability issues into the UN development agenda. It provides guidelines for lobbying national governments and analysis of successful campaigns. This work also discusses the need for improvements in data collection and fact finding tips. This resource would be useful for anyone with an interest in women's rights and disability and development
Policies and rights
This legal background paper asserts that the United Nations Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities should include a separate article on the equality of women with disabilities. This paper outlines the stigma, discrimination and human rights abuses that especially harm disabled women. Other issues of focus include: sexual and psychological abuse, including forced sterilisation; habilitation and rehabilitation; participation in public life; and employment. This resource would be useful for anyone with an interest in gender equality, women's rights and international law
"The aim of this paper is to analyze how women with disabilities can fully benefit from the legal framework afforded to African women by the African Women’s Protocol. The paper argues that the challenges faced by women with disabilities are huge and therefore should not be confined to a single provision, especially if disabled women’s rights are to be addressed efficiently. The Paper presents the situation of women with disabilities in Africa, discusses the implications of having a stand-alone provision on the rights of women with disabilities, and makes use of the guidelines for States’ reporting under the African Women’s Protocol with special attention to reporting on 'Special Protection of Women with Disabilities' (article 23) to demonstrate the added value of having many and more explicit provisions on the rights of women with disabilities"
Barbara Faye Waxman Fiduccia Papers on Women and Girls with Disabilities
This policy paper examines women with disabilities' right to health in Australia. Given the context of three key human rights conventions, the paper highlights the ways in which women and girls with disabilities in Australia are denied their right to health and provides an overview of policy initiatives required to address the structural, socioeconomic and cultural barriers. The paper concludes with strategy suggestions for the Australian Government. This document would be useful for people interested in women with disabilities' right to health in Australia
Experiences and country studies
This study examines the state of disabled Ethiopian women and girls through providing life experiences. The study concludes with a list of recommendations to change the situation
"This article presents the findings of a study on access to HIV prevention and sexual violence protection services among persons with disabilities in Cambodia, based on a gender and cross-impairment analysis. The results show obvious discrepancies between women and men of different impairments in regards to their level of HIV knowledge and risks to sexual violence, in particular among women with disabilities. Furthermore, local services providers revealed their lack of awareness on disability issues and capacity in providing accessible services to them. Ways forward in addressing the rights of women and men with disabilities, as well as gaps in services delivery will have to be addressed in concerted manners at political, societal and community levels"
This paper uses a human rights framework to document the range of data, research and information needed in order to give a comprehensive assessment of the situation of women with disabilities in Australia. The paper provides "an overview of the intersection of gender and disability, as well as a brief background to the human rights imperative. Using key articles from the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the paper then prescribes the key quantitative and qualitative data and research required under each article, and links this to Australia’s international human rights obligations and domestic policy context"
"This paper lays out the international human rights and women's rights framework, then focuses specifically on disability and women's rights legislation in the Arab region."
It contains eight sessions:
The International Human Rights and Women’s Rights Framework
Overview of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, standard rules, disability and women’s rights legislation in the Arab region
Challenges faced by women with disabilities in the Arab Region
Advocating for the rights of women with disabilities
Non-discrimination and the right against violence for women: international and regional context
The rights to education and employment for women: international and regional context
Partnerships and strategies for a regional action plan
Working groups: Making your action plan
This article places disabled women within the women’s movement as well as the disability movement in India. The author highlights the reasons for disabled women’s absence from the agenda of Indian feminism, and concludes by reflecting on the possibilities of inclusion within Indian feminist thought
Hypatia, Vol 17, No 3
Prepared for India's National Commission for Women, this strategy paper explores the situation of women with disabilities in India. It looks at the discrimination that women with disabilities experience in all areas of life, including access to education, training, employment and health.
"Many women are discriminated against because they are women. Having a disability compounds this gender-based prejudice. Women with disabilities in many regions of the world including Arab countries suffer from this double discrimination. The study upon which this article is based analyzes the status of Arab women in general, gender relations in the Middle East, and the situation of Arab women with disabilities, based on available disability statistics from a few selected countries and the author's observations during her 13-year living experience in Baghdad, Amman, and Beirut"
Asia Pacific Disability Rehabilitation Journal, Vol 14, No 1
"This report examines the USAID-funded Civic and Voter Education Program's effectiveness in gender and disability mainstreaming in Namibia...It examines the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Electoral Support Consortium (ESC or Consortium), which was established to encourage voters to participate in the elections and to help voters make informed voting decisions. Although the focus of this consultancy was specifically to determine to what extent the ESC has been integrating gender mainstreaming and addressing disability and socially marginalized populations, this report, out of necessity, gives an overview of the ESC and the Namibian social environment within which the ESC operates"
"This report examines the interests of women with disabilities, as well as the barriers to their participation. It also provides recommendations for the promotion of their electoral and political participation, while highlighting opportunities and strategies for intervention and engagement by relevant stakeholders"
This report discusses prevalence and causes of disability in Zimbabwe, and explores issues such as poverty, gender, health and HIV, education, employment and sports. It is based on a 2006 survey by Progressio Zimbabwe. The report concludes with a chapter on lessons learned and policy recommendations. This resource provides useful information for people interested in the situation and life of people with disabilities in Zimbabwe
Sexual and reproductive health
This research report identifies issues of awareness of reproductive rights and HIV prevention among women with disabilities. The report presents the respondents’ discussions about the rights that are relevant to them and also if they revealed how they are either protected or abused. The report’s recommends increased sensitisation, to parents, communities and other service providers to continue supporting disabled women in satisfying their sexual and reproductive needs as well as protecting them from HIV/AIDS
"This research is based in social model of disability and emancipatory research paradigm, and it explores barriers to the expression of sexuality in a small group of disabled persons in Italy. It has been carried out exclusively through Emails, Newsgroups and Internet, and it also explores the role of internet-based information technologies in participatory and emancipatory research"
"This paper highlights the added discrimination that women with disabilities often face in the context of their disparate access to health care, especially in the areas of reproductive health services and sexual health education, and offers recommendations for a twenty-first century response to the vast health care gaps that impact this population"
Barbara Faye Waxman Fiduccia Papers on Women and Girls with Disabilities
"This article examines the barriers to sexuality facing mothers with disabilities. These barriers include: stereotypes that disabled mothers are not sexual, lack of resources for essential aspects of parenting, and difficulty in creating time for personal and private adult activities. Recommendations are presented based on the experiences of disabled mothers"
Disability Studies Quarterly, Volume 22, No. 4
The paper gives a background to the issue of forced sterilisation, outlines various international human rights standards that prohibit forced sterilisation, and offers several recommendations for improving laws, policies, and professional guidelines governing sterilisation practices. It is useful for anyone interested in the sterilization of women and girls with disabilities
"This Briefing Paper examines the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls with disabilities in the context of the future development agenda Beyond 2014 and Post 2015"
ICPD Human Rights Conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health The Hague, Netherlands
7-11 July 2013
Toolkits, manuals and guides
This book deals with practical advice on health care for women with disabilities. It has been developed in partnership with health care professionals and disabled women in over 42 countries. It covers the key issues of disability in the community; accessible health care; mental health; sexual health; family planning; and child birth. The book is written in a practical and accessible style, suitable for anyone with an interest in disability, social development and women's health issues. In particular, the book offers a valuable insight into 'real-life' personal experiences of disabled women
This manual contains resource materials on approaches to promote the human rights of persons with disabilities, especially women and children, in inclusive people-centered development. It is divided into three modules: Locating the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities within the Human Rights Framework; Tools for Promoting the Rights of Women and Children with Disabilities; and An Inclusive Approach to Gender, Disability, and Development. Each module includes case studies, good practices, analysis and actions to guide human rights practice and the development agenda. This manual is useful for organisations, government agencies and academic institutions who are interested in promoting the human rights of people with disabilities, especially women and children
"The overall aim of this Gender and Disability Toolbox is to help DPOD member organisations and their Southern partners to mainstream the gender dimension." The toolbox is divided into the following three sections: Section I Relationship between Gender and Disability; Section II Gender-Sensitive Project Preparation; Section III Organisational Development from a Gender Perspective. The sections contain detailed introductory information, case studies, project planning tools, annotated gender-sensitivity guides and lists of related references. This resource would be useful to people interested in gender and disability issues
There is a need for organisations working in the field of women and gender to better understand how disability is experienced. The information in this practical resource is relevant for both women-specific activities along with gender programs. It provides practical about how to include women with disabilities in development programmes
After 20 years of displacement and war in northern Uganda, this research report presents information about the situation of women who acquired their disabilities due to the war or who already had disabilities before the war. The report presents interviews from women with disabilities, their family members, international agencies and NGOs, and analyses their responses given the context that Uganda is a signatory to international treaties, such as the CRPD. The report concludes by making recommendations to the government of Uganda
This report presents the findings of a situational assessment that explored the risk factors and vulnerabilities of women and men with disabilities to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and highlights the complexity of addressing SGBV, sexuality, and the stigma and discrimination that is part of the daily reality for persons with disabilities. Recommendations are provided for various stakeholder groups
SD/ RS 05
This literature review on the issue of sexual violence against people in East Africa aims to identify applied research. It contains a synthesis of the knowledge contained in the best selected research, reading notes and an annotated bibliography. The synthesis provides an objective summary of the of the state of the knowledge concerning the sexual abuse of people with disabilities in East Africa
Note: report is available in both word and pdf formats from links above
This interim report presents a research project which explores disabled women’s experiences of domestic violence and investigates existing service provision available to them. It is "based on two national surveys, one of domestic violence organisations and one of disabled people’s organisations. Specialist facilities and accessible services were in short supply in both sectors. One recurrent issue was lack of secure on-going funding, which held many organisations back from developing their services as fully and inclusively they might wish. The provision of appropriate training, and improved liaison between the two sectors, would help to provide a better service for disabled women experiencing abuse"
This report focuses upon prevalence and pervasiveness of violence against women and girls with disabilities. It "reviews available information on the forms, causes and consequences of violence against women when both gender and disability collide to exacerbate that violence; examines the impact of the multiple and intersecting dimensions of women’s lives and; their impact on violence against women with disabilities. The Report outlines the international and regional legal framework, highlighting relevant provisions and interpretations. Finally, the Report examines the extent to which States have met their due diligence obligations (setting forth a few country-specific case studies) highlights some best practices, discusses significant gaps in the research and makes recommendations for future action"
Paper series no 104-2012
This report documents the Making it Work Methodology and applies it to work on gender and disability inclusion. The authors identify and describe eleven good practices in ten countries which were developed by women to eliminate violence against women and girls with disabilities
This report explores why disabled women are more susceptible to violence then non-disabled women. It further examines how service providers respond to their needs, and the barriers associated with accessing proper assistance. The authors also investigate the role of government in providing health services that provide equal and adequate support. This work tackles issues of social isolation, stigma, and human rights
"The present report is the second submitted by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo, to the General Assembly, pursuant to resolution 65/187. The report provides an overview of the activities of the Special Rapporteur and discusses the issue of violence against women with disabilities"
This paper presents the findings of a "participatory research project, developed collaboratively between Australian and Cambodian partners, (that) investigated prevalence and experiences of gender-based violence of women with disabilities in comparison to women without disabilities; assessed the extent to which existing policies and programs include or address women with disabilities; and explored how women with disabilities are supported or denied access to existing programs"
AusAID Research Working Paper 1
This report summarizes available data and research on the prevalence of violence in the lives of women and girls with disabilities -including domestic abuse and battering, sexual abuse and rape, and forms of violence masked as socially accepted treatment
"The aim of this paper is to educate people about the violence experienced by women with disabilities, to make recommendations about what can be done by a variety of stakeholders to end violence against women with disabilities, to motivate agencies dealing with violence against women to include prevention of violence against women with disabilities in their work, and to empower women with disabilities to protect themselves against violence"
Barbara Faye Waxman Fiduccia Papers on Women and Girls with Disabilities
This is a case study of violence and sexual abuse towards women with disabilities in Malawi. It is based on in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. This work examines the childhood and adult experiences of these women, and asserts that discrimination, stigma and vulnerability is worse for adult women.It claims that improvements to access and education will lead to empowerment, thus improving the overall quality of life that women with disabilities can enjoy. This work would be useful for anyone with an interest in human/ women's rights and disability