Aging, disability and gender: the High Level Political Forum has kicked off

New York ,
11 July 2017

EDF is taking part in the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) which is currently taking place in New York. On 10 July 2017, EDF Vice-President, Ana Peláez, kicked off the week and spoke at a side-event entitled Beyond Slogans — Good Practice to Count Us All In.

“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provided us a wonderful platform to implement an inter-sectional approach to the most vulnerable people. It is time to rally together and tackle gender, aging and disabilities as a whole, if we want the 2030 Agenda to be successful", said Ana Peláez.

In fact, the numbers are staggering:

  • 1 in 5 women has a disability
  • Women comprise up to three-quarters of persons with disabilities in low and middle-income countries, with the number of older women with disabilities rising.
  • Over 200 million women with disabilities live below the poverty line, prone to violence and without access to justice, education and employment.

This reality is not acknowledged in the 2030 Agenda or in any other global and regional policy for that matter. The reality of women and girls with disabilities is rarely recognised and barely documented.

Disability policies don’t take gender into consideration while women policies do not take into consideration the disability perspective. For instance, women and girls with disabilities are not systematically involved in any consultation process and they are not considered in Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Civil society organisations do not have a proactive agenda to tackle this issue either and there are no organisations of women and girls with disabilities representing themselves at both the global and regional levels.

Our recommendations

To reach women and girls with disabilities, we have to change our approach to inequality by focusing on the intersectionality and the multiple layers of discrimination that disability, gender and aging bring. We need to gather evidence through data collection to better understand the situation of women and youth with disabilities, taking into consideration other factors like aging.

Women and girls with disabilities must be empowered to represent themselves regionally and globally so they can have further impact on policy-making. The General Comment 3 on article 6 (women and girls with disabilities) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) has to be implemented if we hope one day, to see a meaningful and systematic inclusion of women and girls with disabilities of all age.

A full statement has been prepared after the side-event based on the speakers’ presentations, covering data, gender, ageing and disability. We will distribute the statement this week during the High Level Political Forum.

For more information about women and girls with disabilities in relationship to the SDGs, consult the new issue brief by UN Women entitled: Making the SDGs count for women and girls with disabilities (July 2017).

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