Selfadvocatenet.com in support of International Women,s Day today.
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Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on International Women’s Day
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the occasion of International Women’s Day:
“Today, we join people all over the globe to celebrate the remarkable achievements that women have made everywhere, and reaffirm our commitment to gender equality worldwide.
“This year, Canada’s theme for International Women’s Day is #EqualityMatters, which reminds us that society is better – more prosperous, peaceful, secure, and cohesive – when women’s rights are respected, when women are valued and empowered, and when they lead the way in our communities.
“While we have taken significant steps toward gender equality, we know that much more work needs to be done. Women around the world continue to receive lower pay and fewer promotions. They are denied legal control over their bodies and reproductive health. They face much higher rates of harassment and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. In impoverished communities, women are the least likely to have access to healthcare, the last ones to eat, and the most vulnerable to the hardships brought on by disease.
“That is why we will continue to place gender equality and rights, and the empowerment of women and girls, at the heart of our international development work.
These efforts received a considerable boost this morning with the announcement that Canada will provide $650 million in funding to address gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.
“Today, I remind Canadians that we all have a role to play in the fight for gender equality, and that we all benefit from a more gender equal world.
Women and men, girls and boys, we must all step up and speak out, because half of the population cannot solve a problem that affects us all.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I encourage all Canadians to join us in celebrating International Women’s Day, as we renew our commitment to a more positive, just, and equal world.”
Premier Christy Clark –
“On this International Women’s Day it’s important to celebrate and recognize successful women. Young women and girls need to see others succeeding in fields that traditionally have been dominated by men. The We for She conference and the new mentorship pilot program will help more women acquire the skills and knowledge they need to maximize their potential.”
Women and girls with disabilities are equal rights holders, not ‘helpless objects of pity’ – UN rights committee
Participant of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities takes photos of participants attending a special event organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. UN Photo
30 August 2016 – Noting that national policies often tend to treat women and girls with disabilities as helpless objects of pity or allow them to be treated in that manner, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has stressed that, instead, they need to be empowered and allowed to enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms, as any other person.
“Policies for women have traditionally made disability invisible, and disabilities policies have overlooked gender,” said Theresia Degener, a member of Committee member in a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
“But,” she added, “if you are a woman or a girl with disabilities, you face discrimination and barriers because you are female, because you are disabled, and because you are female and disabled.”
To address this issue, the Committee has issued guidance for the 166 states that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to help them empower women and girls with disabilities and to enable them to participate in all spheres of life on an equal basis with others, as set out expressly in Article 6 of the Convention.
Disabilities policies have overlooked gender
According to OHCHR, the guidance – termed as a General Comment – stresses that states need to empower women by “raising their self-confidence, guaranteeing their participation, and increasing their power and authority to take decisions in all areas affecting their lives.”
The guidelines note that there are three main areas of concern regarding women and girls with disabilities:
- Physical, sexual, or psychological violence, which may be institutional or interpersonal
- Restriction of sexual and reproductive rights, including the right to accessible information and communication, the right to motherhood and child-rearing responsibilities
- Multiple discrimination
It also details the measures the countries should take in a range of sectors, including health, education, access to justice and equality before the law, transport, and employment to enable women and girls with disabilities to fully enjoy their human rights.
“Our recommendations cover practical steps, such as planning public services that work for women with disabilities, and involving them in the design of products so they can use them,” said Diane Kingston, another member of the Committee. “Think of the women and girls with disabilities who face huge and daily hurdles with regard to water, sanitation and hygiene, and how guaranteeing accessible facilities, services and products could transform their lives.”
The General Comment also calls on States parties to the Convention to repeal or reform all legislation which discriminates, either directly or indirectly, against women and girls with disabilities.
It also urges public campaigns to overcome and transform long-held discriminatory attitudes towards women with disabilities.
This was taken from site called Huffington Post NewsPaper
It’s Time To Address Violence Against Women With Disabilities
November 25, the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. December 10, International Human Rights Day, marks the end of this international campaign.
Violence against women is an on-going epidemic in our country. Data released last year by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics in a report on Criminal Victimization in Canada revealed that sexual assault remains the only crime in Canada for which there has been no decline in the last decade.
In fact, the Parliamentary Committee on the Status of Women, concerned with “the shortage of statistics and information on violence faced by young women and girls in Canada,” is currently doing a study on violence against young women and girls.
The rates of sexual, physical, verbal and systemic violence are at least three times higher for young women and girls with disabilities.
When I presented to the committee last week, I pointed out that there are still no resources to speak of for girls with disabilities facing violence, even though they experience violence at higher rates and more frequently than any other group of young women and girls in Canada. The rates of sexual, physical, verbal and systemic violence are at least three times higher for young women and girls with disabilities.
Early results from a DAWN Canada project shows strong evidence of enormous gaps in violence-prevention policy and program delivery for women and girls with disabilities.
Policies tend to be reactive if they exist at all. Legislation specific to disability (for example, the 10 year old Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) is not applied from a gendered perspective. And any policies that appear to have merit are generally just that — well-written policies with no champions, no funding (read no programs, no services or none specifically for our needs), and consequently no results.
For example, although technology provides great opportunities for supporting women and girls with disabilities, it also represents another avenue through which girls with disabilities are vulnerable to cyber-bullying or exploitation. But once again there is no legislation or policy in place to protect them, despite the fact that the use of on-line communications dominates youth culture today.
The vulnerability of young women and girls with disabilities cannot be underestimated. Last year, CBC reported the story of a young woman with an intellectual disability who was sexually assaulted on a public bus in Winnipeg, while her support work sat two seats ahead of her, listening to music on her iPod.
If this is possible on a public bus, what can happen in private, unmonitored spaces? It is no wonder that our society has not yet dared to investigate the rate of childhood sexual abuse among girl children with disabilities. No doubt it would be alarmingly high.
Canada must do better. Girls with disabilities need support and encouragement to become the confident, resilient leaders they are capable of being.
But this cannot happen until we as a society take collective responsibility for ensuring it does.
This was taken from site called Handicap International
International Women’s Day
Women with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of domestic violence as other women, according to the United Nations.
© Brice Blondel / Handicap International
Handicap International is highlighting this issue at the 57th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. “Women with disabilities often face double discrimination,” said Muriel Mac-Seing, Handicap International’s Technical Advisor on gender based violence. “It’s our duty to bring this injustice to an end.”
Although women with disabilities represent 19.2% of the global female population and often live in precarious conditions, their needs are rarely taken into account. Yet the few studies devoted to disability and gender-based violence all highlight the vulnerability of women and girls with disabilities to various forms of violence. Eighty per cent of women with disabilities living in rural Asia, for example, are unable to meet their own needs, according to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and are heavily dependent on family and friends.
Handicap International’s field experience also shows that women and girls with disabilities are at a heightened risk of violence and remain excluded from basic services, such as education, health, work and social support.
People with disabilities are 130% more likely to be survivors of violence than people without disabilities. It is also widely acknowledged that women with disabilities are at heightened risk of sexual violence and twice as likely to experience domestic violence. “Women are much more likely to experience sexual violence if they have an impairment because they generally live in closer contact with adult members of their family, on whom they are often dependent, and because social and cultural stereotypes dictate that women and girls do not have the right to manage their own sexual and reproductive health,” said Mac-Seing.
“For example, women with disabilities living in rural areas of Africa, are often sexually abused and their families, who often know about it or are involved in such abuse, stay silent about it due to fear of further discrimination and stigmatization. They start from the premise that women and girls with disabilities do not have rights and cannot refuse to engage in a sexual act, even if a man is drunk, aggressive or HIV positive. Sexually transmitted infection such as HIV and unwanted pregnancies are major consequences of gender-based violence for women with disabilities.
“Sometimes women and girls with disabilities are forcibly sterilized and pushed into terminating pregnancies, based on the paternalistic reasoning that ‘it’s for their own good’,” Mac-Seing added. One study conducted by the United Nations has revealed that in Orissa, India, 6% of women with disabilities have been sterilized against their will.
Discrimination and stigmatization“Women and girls with disabilities are at risk of more than direct violence,” Mac-Seing said. “They are often excluded from basic services, such as health and education, or do not have the right to work.” A Handicap International study in 2012 in the Western Province of Rwanda revealed a vicious spiral at work: women who are prevented from exercising their right to attend school are more likely to remain ignorant of their rights and to put up with degrading and violent treatment. Their economic vulnerability, which is linked to their gender and disability, also creates an environment in which they are more likely to be ill-treated, leading to further impoverishment of affected people with disabilities as well as their families.
“Combating violence against women and girls with disabilities must be one of the United Nation’s top priorities,” says Mac-Seing, who is scheduled to speak on behalf of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) on March 11, at the 57th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York. The IDDC will use this opportunity to recommend a number of recommendations, including equal access to gender-based violence related services. “All too often service providers working on gender-based violence do not gather specific information on people with disabilities and do not have the skills to provide an appropriate and accessible response to women and girls with disabilities,” explains Mac-Seing.
This is also the case in disaster situations. “During disaster situations, for example in refugee camps, women with disabilities are extremely vulnerable,” explains Hélène Robin, manager of Handicap International’s emergency programs. “Not only are services poorly adapted to their specific needs (they cannot move around and do not have access to food distributions or latrines, for example), they are also at a heightened risk of violence. This is why Handicap International ensures that vulnerable people, including pregnant and isolated women, have access to care services and distributions to avoid their situation getting even worse.”
“Moreover, women with disabilities in emergency situations are most likely to suffer from intellectual, sensory or psychological impairments. Women who are deaf and mute, for example, cannot call for help, when necessary, or express their needs, because they are unlikely to be fully understood (which makes them priority targets for support). At the same time, women who are the victims of violence or abuse, but who have an intellectual impairment or mental health problems, may be considered to be unreliable witnesses. These women therefore need particular protection during emergency situations.”
This was taken from site called First Post Newspaper
International Women’s Day 2017: How women with disabilities are fighting to be accepted Anita Ravindra, a Mysore school teacher with multiple disabilities faced sexual harassment and discrimination at the hands of two male colleagues and the school principal for three years before she decided to file a complaint.
Women with disabilities are fighting for their rights,
including the right to choose their own partner.Reuters
To her dismay, no action was taken despite Ravindra complaining to authorities such as: Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee, Women & Child Welfare Commission, Chairperson of the Women’s Cell in her school, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Karnataka and the National Council of Educational Research and Training.
“The High Court of Karnataka ordered the committee to consider the complaint of Mrs. Anita.”, said Jayna Kothari, a Disability Rights lawyer who fought her case.
This case highlights the need to educate stakeholders across education institutes and committees and employers in both the public & private sector about women with disabilities being particularly vulnerable to violence.
Jolly Mohan, a woman living with paraplegia who works as an analyst for Bank of America in Gurgaon says that despite MNCs evolving their hiring policies to include people with disabilities, the stigma still runs deep.
Although she is able to access infrastructure at work, she still finds that career progression and promotions are not at par with her able-bodied counterparts.
When it comes to dating, relationships and marriage, the families of the women with disabilities often take unwarranted decisions about her life and her body, which are often looked at as something that they need to be ashamed of and apologetic for.
Irrespective of what the condition at hand manifests as, women with disabilities are assumed to be ‘asexual’; an assumption which represses their sexual identity or are portrayed as having uncontrollable sexual urges that portray them as being completely unaware.
“As women with disabilities, we are expected to “settle” for anybody who chooses to marry us. I had met a lot of able-bodied men, before I decided to marry my husband, who happens to have visual impairment. His disability was not the reason for me to marry him. I just wanted to be with someone who accepted me for who I am and he did,” said Jolly, who married two years ago.
The internet has been instrumental for many women living in smaller towns who do not enjoy the same privileges as those living in metropolitan cities.
“Opportunities to meet and socialise with other women with disabilities and groups are rare in Palakkad. I’ve mentored other men and women with spinal cord injuries from my own experience over Skype”, said Sudha, a woman living with spinal cord injury in Kerala.
She also believes that since she works remotely and “online”, she does not face discrimination at the workplace but when it comes to something as simple as taking her car out at night along with the driver, as a woman with a disability she needs to think twice about her safety.
“With an open heart, grudgingly or tokenistically, women with disabilities are slowly being accepted, recognised and heard. Also, representation in mainstream media in the form of cinema, such as Margarita With A Straw pushes the discourse to a whole new level. As a next step, there is a need to train existing organisations working on gender rights and sexuality on adding the ‘disability’ element to their programs. Amplifying voices of women with disabilities is key”, said Nidhi Goyal, Program Director at Sexuality & Disability. Nidhi is also a stand-up comedian and has performed in Mumbai and for international audiences as part of the show ‘Sex & Sexability’ – India’s first stand up comedy show that exclusively tackles stigma of disability and sexuality curated by the social enterprise – CraYon Impact.
After decades of hard work and lobbying by the disability rights movement in India, The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill was passed in December 2016. “While there is no separate chapter in the Act and there is still room for it to focus on protection of children and women with disabilities, it is still progressive and a great milestone. There are special provisions for them across some chapters”, said Kothari.
“Back then the ‘gender’ concept was absent from the disability discourse. Now that we talk about it, so many laws and policies in India have started to include the issue. That’s a big win”, says Shampa Sengupta, an executive member of the National Platform for Rights of Disabled, who has been working on the issue for the past 25 years.
Shampa also acknowledges that access to legal aid is, in particular, a challenge to women with disabilities in both urban and rural areas, especially those from poor socio-economic backgrounds. She concludes that “the disability movement is very elitist today. We need to reach out to the grassroots and bring voices of the poor disabled in our advocacy work”.
Although they have been excluded from both the women’s movement and the disability movement in the past, women with disabilities have struggled to have their voices heard but they still recognise that collaboration is key.
Janet Price, a disability rights activist summarises this beautifully by saying, “I think the most effective movements are those that acknowledge and encourage diversity and celebrate difference and are yet able to work together towards one particular goal”.
This was taken from website called Iris
International Women’s Day: Why Equality Matters
Women with disabilities make up 10 percent of the population of all women worldwide, and in Canada, one out of five women is living with a disability. Women with disabilities are a highly diverse population, both in terms of the kinds of disabilities they are living with, and their individual identities and experiences. Women with disabilities in Canada represent multiple perspectives and identities, because they occupy all strata of society; they are racialized people, immigrants, refugees, migrants; they come from Indigenous, LGBTQ and many other communities and they are of all ages, and come from various socio-economic and linguistic backgrounds and faiths.
Today, as we mark International Women’s Day in Canada and reflect on its theme of #EqualityMatters, we also reflect on the importance of working in recognition and respect of these various intersecting identities, and of the manifold experiences of women with disabilities who may belong to one or some of these communities.
We also recognize that not only do women in Canada live with numerous experiences of marginalization, but that with each layer of identity, be it disability status, refugee status or Indigeneity, barriers are added to their safety and wellbeing.
It is with this understanding that IRIS has been implementing its 3-year solidarity initiative, with the support of Status of Women Canada, entitled Working Together: Combating Structural Violence against Indigenous, Racialized, Migrant Women and Women Labeled with Intellectual and Psychiatric Disabilities.
The project seeks to equip women from these communities to identify, articulate and transform local supports in ways that will more effectively meet their needs, by working both within their own communities and across groups.
Equality matters because persistent and pervasive disparity between men and women remains a threat to women’s safety and full participation in society.
Institutional barriers to equality put women with disabilities —who already occupy marginalized positions in society—at an added risk of violence when systems further discriminate against them across other intersections of identity.
By working directly with mainstream violence prevention and response services to change their practices and policies, and by supporting Indigenous, refugee, migrant women and women labeled with intellectual disabilities to lead and direct the changes they need in community services, the Working Together initiative is identifying the places where inequalities between men and women exist, and developing practical, realistic, actionable and community-led strategies to achieve the objective of increasing the safety of women – embodying the ethos of #EqualityMatters.
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural & political achievements of women.
From the US: ‘Promoting the status of women with disabilities’: Bethany Hoppe https://youtu.be/dvZf6t6S5T8
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