"For every five women, one has a disability. That means a huge population." Interview with Ana Peláez Narváez

21 September 2018

On the 25th September, the world will be celebrating the third anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)! At the European Disability Forum, we are also celebrating by publishing a series of articles, highlighting how the SDGs are critical for persons with disabilities. Today, we will focus on Goal 5: Gender Equality, which seeks to reduce and erase the existing disparities and barriers women and girls are facing in society.

Women and girls with disabilities are facing even more barriers due to their gender and their disabilities. Ana Peláez Narváez, EDF Vice-President and newly elected member of the Committee of the Elimination and Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), agreed to answer some of our questions on the topic.

Interviewer: Why is the 2030 Agenda important for women with disabilities?

Ana: For every five women, one has a disability. That means a huge population. Twenty percent of the women’s population are women and girls with disabilities which means a population of around 600 million of women and girls with disabilities. The 2030 Agenda pays attention very clearly to the gender issues as well as the disability issues but it does not really take into consideration both aspects together. It is critical to influence and follow up the 2030 Agenda to guarantee the non-exclusion of women and girls with disabilities in the SDGs.

Interviewer How can we improve the situation of women with disabilities when it comes to Voluntary National Reviews of countries?

Ana: Very often, countries and civil society report about disabilities as well as gender issues separately. We need to ensure that when civil society and organisations of persons with disabilities report about disability issues, that the situation of women and girls with disabilities are taken into consideration. Same for civil society and organisations of women in general: they need to ensure that the disability perspective is considered in this gender agenda too. It is also important to ensure that governments, when they are reporting [on the SDGs], take into consideration the multiple forms of discrimination faced by women with disabilities with for instance violence, forced sterilizations and access to justice.

Interviewer: What are your recommendations for women with disabilities at the national level when it comes to the SDGs?

Ana: When state parties develop a national strategy on the 2030 Agenda and if they include persons with disabilities, they will most likely focus on accessibility. But, it is really by trying to influence state parties that we can ensure the situation of women and girls with disabilities are also considered in national strategies. Organisations of persons with disabilities must work with organisations of women. There is also the possibility to be part of a council or a platform to follow up on national strategy in relation with the SDGs. We need to ensure the real participation of women and girls with disabilities so our voices can be listened to by governments!

Goal 5 has brought a momentum to the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, when it comes to the rights of girls and women with disabilities. We need to continue advocating for a society where no more women and girls with disabilities are left behind!

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