Disabled women organising and leading change

Disabled women organising and leading change

The National Womens Council of Ireland (NWCI), is a women’s civil society organisation. Since February 2020, we have been working collectively online with a group of disabled women. The purpose of the group is to ensure disabled women are more effectively represented across all the work of NWCI including women’s healthcare, economic equality, violence against women and leadership. Through working together, we are strengthening our advocacy and campaigning work and championing spaces and supporting the participation of disabled women in the women’s movement.  Our group members Independent Living Movement Ireland and the National Deaf Women of Ireland are also part of this group. Together we are engaging with our public representatives, making submissions and creating a space to bring together disabled women activists and campaigners to highlight the issues that are important to disabled women.

Disabled women have often been invisible in discourse on disability and gender. It is sometimes assumed that policies and practices are gender neutral and there is a lack of understanding of the ways in which gender and disability issues interact. In practice, gender inequalities in the structures of our society combine with disadvantages experienced by disabled people to create particular forms of exclusion and discrimination for disabled women. Disabled women encounter and experience a wide range of barriers to full equality including accessing the labour market, access to health services including screening and reproductive services and are underrepresented across all areas of leadership in public life.  Disabled women are particularly vulnerable to violence yet are least likely to see the perpetrator brought to justice. They are four times more likely to experience sexual violence and face forced sterilisation or abortion; many of them depend on the perpetrator for their daily care or even survival. The lack of person-centred supports limits disabled women’s ability to earn an adequate income

Disabled women are organising and working together through Disabled People’s Organisations (DPO’s) such as Disabled Women Ireland, Independent Living Movement Ireland Womens Group and National Deaf Women of Ireland. This work needs to be meaningfully resourced and practically supported, if we are serious about increasing disabled women’s participation at all levels of society. The state must seek the input of Disabled People’s Organisations, including disabled women’s organisations, in all policies that impact disabled women.We need a cultural shift in how society views disabled women so that their rights are fully realized and the states obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are fulfilled.

Group photo of the Irish Women Organisation

The National Women’s Council

The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190-member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters. Thee ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind.

Join the event today

The Independent Living Movement Ireland invite all disabled women to join us for our International Women’s Day Celebration on Tuesday, 8th March 2022 at 7pm.