In low-income countries, 22.1% of women have a disability compared to 14.4% in higher income countries.
Women with disabilities living in poverty face multiple barriers that can prevent them from accessing health care, education and better livelihoods. These barriers can include a lack of safe, private and disability accessible sanitation facilities; an absence of interpreters when accessing sexual and reproductive health services or the justice system; increased risk of sexual abuse and exploitation; and perceptions that women and girls are helpless and dependent, which keeps girls out of school and women out of work.
Despite these barriers, women with disabilities make positive contributions to their community, whether in businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees, or by doing unpaid care work in their communities and at home.
We recognise that women with disabilities living in poverty face many more barriers to equality and inclusion than women without disabilities and men with disabilities. This is why we join them in advocating for their rights to ensure they are included, benefit from and can contribute to their communities.
We believe in the strength and capability of women and girls with disabilities. When given equal access to services and opportunities, they can reach their full potential.
We are working hard to change attitudes and help decision-makers understand that women and girls with disabilities have a voice and valuable contributions to make.
In June 2018, CBM Australia’s CEO Jane Edge was joined by disability rights activist and director of one of CBM’s field partners in Vietnam, Nyugen Thi Lan Anh to launch CBM’s paper, Leave No One Behind: Gender Equality, Disability Inclusion and Leadership for Sustainable Development, at an event at Parliament House in Canberra.
This is one of many ways we are raising awareness for women and girls with disabilities to reshape the future for them.