Officials 'working to tear down barriers against women with disabilities'

SOCIAL Services Minister Obie Wilchcombe.

SOCIAL Services Minister Obie Wilchcombe.


Tribune Staff Reporter


SOCIAL Services Minister Obie Wilchcombe said officials are working to tear down barriers against women with disabilities.

Mr Wilchcombe made his comments on Wednesday at the closing conference of the 13th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers meeting. He highlighted the key points taken away from the three-day conference, noting the challenges women with disabilities face.

“Not only are women and girls disproportionately represented with a disability prevalence rate of approximately 19 per cent versus 12 per cent for men. But they also face multiple barriers that may result in low economic and social status, increased risk of gender-based violence and abuse,” Mr Wilchcombe said.

He added that women and girls with disabilities have been affected by various types of abuse and discrimination. Including sexual violence, gender-based discriminatory practices, and limited access to education and health services.

“All ministers acknowledge that these are barriers to the full realisation of the rights of all women and girls with disabilities. Ministers welcomed the recommendations for gender equality and inclusion of people with disabilities, highlighting the importance of the collection of disaggregated disability data and the adoption of a disability mainstreaming approach,” he said.

For her part, Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, said 56 member states agreed to a road map that will aid in gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“The Roadmap shapes the Commonwealth by annual reporting on gender equality and women's empowerment to heads of government. And the process by which member countries can review and provide input into the development,” she said.

The 13th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting was hosted in The Bahamas this year. It discussed women in leadership, women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women, climate, and the inclusion of women with disabilities.

The next Women’s Affairs Meeting is expected to be hosted in Asia.


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