Twice vulnerable: how women with disabilities face double discrimination
Yvette Basson questions why legal frameworks haven’t made a real difference in the lives of women with disabilities and explains what needs to change.
“In the last decade, the rights of people with disabilities have received increased attention on a global scale. The United Nations released its ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ in 2006, which sparked a worldwide discussion on these rights and the continued challenges faced by people with disabilities. So far, most attention has been paid to the rights of people with disabilities in general, although some sections of the Convention relate to women and girls with disabilities. Many international legal documents deal with the rights of women and children. These laws combined with the 2006 Convention mentioned above, represent a positive step towards recognising the rights of women with disabilities – but they’re not yet making a real difference in women’s daily lives.
Many societies, particularly in developing and poorer countries, still hold outdated beliefs about the role of women in society and similarly outdated beliefs about people with disabilities. Women are often held to traditional roles such as being stay-at-home mothers, not working and not having leadership roles in communities. When these two sets of attitudes are combined, we can see that women with disabilities experience two sets of obstacles to participation in society.”
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