UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri statement for roundtable on “International and regional cooperation and partnerships for disability inclusive development” at the High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development, New York, 23 September.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to speak on behalf of UN Women at this historic event. I would like to thank the co-facilitators of this High-Level Meeting and the co-chairs of this roundtable for your leadership in convening this event.
As we discuss disability and development, we must give special attention to women and girls with disabilities. For far too long, women and girls with disabilities have been invisible – all too often experiencing double discrimination, due both to their disability and to being female.
Women and men face different risks of becoming disabled, or as a result of disability. Women are at an increased risk of becoming disabled because of gender-based, discriminatory practices, such as early and forced marriage, early pregnancy and female genital mutilation among others. As a result, the female disability prevalence rate is 19.2 per cent, whereas it is 12 per cent for men. Even more troubling is the fact that women and girls with disabilities are three times as likely to experience physical and sexual abuse. And they have less access to social services and support systems.
The good news is that increased attention is now being paid to the rights of women and girls with disabilities. The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) has a separate article on women with disabilities, with special attention to reproductive rights and the right to sexual and reproductive health – rights that are fundamental to the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights. I am also pleased to note that the outcome document of this meeting recognizes the importance of a gender perspective in the disability and development agenda.