Editorial spotlight: Amplifying the voices of women with disabilities


At the 10th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, taking place from 13-15 June, UN Women will amplify the voices of women with disabilities and highlight the importance of their representation in decision-making. 

An estimated one in five women is likely to experience disability in her lifetime. Women and girls with disabilities face multiple barriers and discrimination that hinder their access to education, economic opportunities, justice and participation in politics and decision-making.

This year’s Conference theme, “The Second Decade of the CRPD: Inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in the implementation of the Convention”, and sub-theme, “Addressing the impact of multiple discrimination on persons with disabilities and promoting their participation and multi-stakeholder partnerships for achieving the SDGs in line with the CRPD”, will provide a platform for building strategies to address the unique challenges faced by women with disabilities.

UN Women will participate in the Interactive dialogue between States parties (to the Convention) and the United Nations, and present its initiatives in support of the implementation of the Convention.

Women’s voices

Malvika Iyer. Photo: MHPV

From where I stand: “Being a person with disability is challenging. Being a woman with disability adds extra challenges”
Malvika Iyer, a Disability Rights Activist and motivational speaker, received a standing ovation for her speech at the CSW61 Youth Forum. After losing her hands from a bomb blast, she became a strong advocate for inclusion of disability rights and gender.

Juddy's story
Juddy talks about overcoming her disability to become an entrepreneur. She is now a leader in her community, teaching other women how they can empower themselves and overcome poverty. Her story shows what’s possible when we tackle inequalities.

Pratima Gurung. Photo:  UN Women/Ryan Brown

From where I stand: “We must be at the table making decisions”
For Pratima Gurung from Nepal, empowering indigenous women with disabilities starts with making them count as active participants and decision-makers, not just observers of decisions. She points to the need to strengthen their voices in disability fora, as well as indigenous peoples’ fora.

Casar Jacobson. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

From where I stand: “Technology sees skills before gender and disability”
Casar Jacobson, a disability rights activist and a UN Women Youth Champion, shares her personal story of living with hearing disability and persevering to carve out a place in the world of work. She stresses on the power of technology in ensuring that no one is left behind.