Global Resources

Pacific sisters with disabilities: at the intersection of discrimination

Author: D. Stubbs, S. Tawake
Publisher: United Nations Development Programme
Publication Date: Apr 2009

What are the issues and challenges facing women and girls with disabilities in the Pacific? One is the experience of “intersectional discrimination” based on the combination of both disability and gender-based discrimination. This study considers the key areas of discrimination and disadvantage, analysing social and economic factors impacting on the human rights of women and girls with disabilities. Data for this study was provided by the Statistics and Demography Programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and experts who attended the Roundtable on the Situation of Women and Girls with Disabilities in the Pacific (convened by UNDP - Pacific Centre in 2007). Among others sources, support was also received from UNIFEM, the Pacific Disability Forum and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Specific areas examined include the limited laws, policies and programmes pertaining to women and girls with disabilities in the Pacific region. The study finds that further work by the various stakeholders requires a rights-based approach relevant to supporting women and girls with disabilities and comprehensive rights-based responses are needed in order to change attitudes and cultural practices that result in discrimination, poverty, isolation, violence and abuse. Also, governments must take a leadership role by legislating for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls with disabilities (among taking other recommended measures). Other stakeholders, including disabled people’s organisations, must also promote the mainstreaming of gender-based support and activities, as well as develop and implement laws, policies and programmes that advance the rights of disabled women and girls.