On June 10, a side event to the 8th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities featured a presentation about the Making it Work initiative. This initiative was begun in partnership with countries around the world that had developed best practices to prevent violence against women and girls with disabilities and empower them to assert their rights.
These women and girls need legal advocates and access to justice, since often times the ones abusing them are the very people who should be their legal guardians. These women are doubly at risk due to the intersection of discrimination between women and persons with disabilities. Groups working on both these issues need to work together since women with disabilities are at especially high risk of sexual violence.
Empowerment of women with disabilities is another crucial aspect to “making it work.” Kenya, Mexico and Kenya have implemented very successful programs to increase self-advocacy among these groups to decrease their risk.
The meeting also focused on a need for increased data collection on the issue of women with disabilities experiencing violence and trauma, especially in areas of conflict. When data has been collected, numbers show that these groups often slip through the cracks of protection and are being violated in high numbers.
Article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first binding equality provision in human rights law that outlaws discrimination on the basis of gender and disability.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has designated June 14, 2015 as Disability Inclusion Sunday.Presbyterians for Disability Concerns (PDC), one of the ten networks of the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA) provides resources for congregations and worshipping communities to use on this and other Sundays.