Statement: Transformative solutions for inclusive development – the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world

UN Women statement on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2022

This year’s theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities underlines the strong links between gender equality and disability inclusion. These issues are crosscutting and key to an equitable world. It is estimated that one in five women lives with a disability, among one billion people with disabilities. They are some of the most excluded in our society and are among the hardest hit in the current multiple global crises, including in terms of fatalities. These crises are deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing the extent of exclusion, and highlighting the urgent need for work to address it comprehensively.


To achieve the transformative and innovative solutions that our world needs, those solutions must be inclusive right from the start. This means amplifying the roles of women and girls with disabilities across all aspects of development, including through meaningful engagement and consultations, targeted and inclusive programming, and strengthened partnerships. For example, UN Women and UNDP have recently launched a joint, cross-regional programme to strengthen behavioural insights and intersectional approaches to confront stigma and discrimination. Together with WHO, OHCHR, UNFPA, and UNICEF, UN Women is launching a Joint Programme for mainstreaming a disability-inclusive humanitarian response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis. And we have actively supported the formation and launch of the Global Forum on the Leadership of Women with Disabilities.

An accessible and equitable world requires that we identify stigma and discrimination against women and girls with disabilities as major barriers to their full and effective participation in all aspects of social, political, and economic life. It also requires that we work intentionally and urgently to foster the leadership and participation of women and girls with disabilities, including through their representative organizations. The priority theme of next year’s Commission on the Status of Women is directly related to the international mobilization that is needed to bring innovation and technological change to women and girls in the digital age.

Let us work together for an inclusive, accessible, climate-resilient and equitable world that ensures the leadership and participation of women and girls with disabilities, including through their representative organizations, in innovation and transformative solutions.

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