National Council on Disability Document Archive

Resource kit for women with disabilities

Posted by: Jamal Mazrui
Date Mailed: Sunday, August 10th 1997 01:12 PM

DISABLED WOMEN: AN INTERNATIONAL RESOURCE KIT
Copyright: Disability Awareness in Action
Published by Disability Awareness in Action, 11 Belgrave Road,
London SW1V 1RB,  United Kingdom.

ISBN 1 898037 35 3

This publication is available in English, French and Spanish, in
ordinary and  large print, on audio-tape, in ASCII, and in English
braille.

CONTENTS
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Status of Disabled Women
Strategies for Change
Action for Change
Resources
Contacts

"My main objective is to be an effectively contributing member of
the community  at large and thus contribute to the development of
my country. The problem is  the negative attitude in society
towards the active participation of disabled  people in community
development. I have to counter the belief that a disabled  person
is an object of pity who always needs assistance from somebody
else. This  problem is compounded by the fact that I am a woman.
Being a disabled woman is a  double disadvantage in my community."
Gloria.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Disability Awareness in Action would like to thank Theresia
Degener, Anneli  Joneken and Dinah Radtke for their solidarity and
expertise.
We would also like to record our thanks to all the disabled women
whose  experiences and achievements inspire this publication.

As always with our publications, we are indebted to the thousands
of disabled  people we have met and corresponded with worldwide. 


POEM: People Don't See Me
by Estella Jossum
People don't see me
They think I'm useless
Say any word they want.
Don't I think as they do?
I need to be recognised!

If I walk down the street
They say: "There's a cripple!"
If I handle my crutches
They move away quickly
As though a plane's taking off.

Don't do anything for me!
I need to be on my own.

If I go for work
They say, "No - give her this special, light job."
But "special" means "discrimination".

I need to express my rights
To say what I want.
And remember
My choice is not a mistake.
Don't be shy for me.
Let me be shy for myself. 
Let me speak for myself.


INTRODUCTION
There is much talk of the death of feminism - that the war has been
won and that  there are few, if any, battles left to fight. Yet the
media continue to stir up  conflict between men and women, rather
than focusing on the negative impact of  gender discrimination.
Similarly, disabled people are seen as at war with their  bodies,
desperate for cures and care. The serious issues which really limit 
disabled people's lives - marginalisation, abuse and poverty - are
ignored.
From our own experiences and from the 1993 United Nations Report on
Human Rights  and Disability we know that the human rights of
disabled people are violated all  over the world. This is true for
disabled women and for disabled men. Our  organisations in most
countries are working hard in difficult circumstances to  change
this. 

It is vital that disabled women are involved in the struggle for
social change  at every level. 

Disabled Women:
The social status of disabled women varies according to individual
circumstances  and to the country in which they live. Disabled
women in poor countries usually  experience a particular
disadvantage. Here, it is not just difficult but often  impossible
for a disabled woman to get an education or find a job. She easily 
becomes marginalised; has no place in society. She does not meet
the  requirements society places on women: she cannot be a "good
wife", nor a "good  mother", according to common wisdom. She cannot
earn her living because of  barriers of access and attitude. 
     
Representation and Empowerment:
Although the organised disability movement should represent and
empower all  disabled people, in practice disabled women have fewer
opportunities to take  part, to take action and to make change.
However, disabled women are beginning  to organise at national,
regional and international levels and disability  organisations are
increasingly aware of the need to embrace the experiences of  all
disabled people - whatever their gender, sexuality, ethnic
background, age,  religion, language or impairment.
     
Contact with the general women's movement is not so easy. Interest,
when shown,  is often at the last minute, when disabled women
approach event organisers to  ask why there are no disabled 
speakers and are hurriedly asked to produce one.  There is little
focus in the women's movement on disabled women's issues.

Experience and Responsibility:
Many of the things discussed in this resource kit concern disabled
women and  disabled men. To make sexuality, parenting and abuse
"women's issues" is a  mistake. Disabled men can also be victims of
abuse and of gender stereotyping.  We need to share concern and
responsibility with disabled men, and with non-disabled women and
men. 
     
We have attempted to collate what evidence there is on both the
commonality and  difference in experience, though official
disability statistics are rarely  broken down into gender.

Who Do We Mean by "Disabled Women"?:
Disabled women are women who have one or more impairments and
experience  barriers in society.  We include disabled girls and
women of all ages, in rural  and urban areas, regardless of the
severity of the impairment, regardless of  sexual preference and
regardless of cultural background, or whether they live in  the
community or an institution.

"Pity can disappear from one day to the next. It makes you
dependent on the  whims of the person who is dispensing it. The
issue of rights and equality is  more lasting. It is this that
disabled people are increasingly demanding.  Charity has too often
robbed us of our dignity and our independence." Khadija.


STATUS OF DISABLED WOMEN

General Picture:
51 per cent of disabled people are women.

A large percentage of people in developing countries do not get
enough to eat.  One hundred million people have impairments caused
by malnutrition. 

International development programmes rarely address the needs of
disabled women  or include them in community development ventures.

Disabled people are known to be the poorest of the poor in every
country.

The problems of women are compounded by disability. For example,
women are not  targeted for prevention information campaigns on HIV
infection. Disabled women  are doubly ignored.

Many disabled people, especially elderly disabled women, lead
isolated lives -  unable to go out of their own homes or even move
around adequately inside them. 

Disabled people are often denied access to public places because of 
architectural barriers or discriminatory attitudes.

Even in a rich country like Sweden, which has among the best
housing policies in  the world, of those not living in
institutions, 85 per cent live in inaccessible  housing.

Most public transport is inaccessible to disabled people.

In Zimbabwe, 52 per cent of disabled children get no education at
all. In Asia,  about 90 per cent of blind children have no access
to education.

Even in richer countries, education for many disabled children is
still  segregated and inadequate, particularly for those with
learning difficulties.  Despite integration policies dating back to
the late 1970s, 28.4 per cent of  disabled children in the UK still
go to segregated schools. A tiny number (0.3  per cent) make it
into higher education. 

In most countries, at least two-thirds of disabled people are
unemployed. In  Tunisia, 85 per cent of disabled people aged 15-64
are unemployed. Disabled  women find it four times harder than
disabled men to get work. In Zimbabwe, less  than 1 per cent of
disabled people contribute actively to the economy, In the UK  and
USA, 67 per cent of disabled people are unemployed.

Access to communication and information, especially for those with
visual,  hearing or learning impairments, is limited. 

The democratic voice of disabled people is rarely heard in the
formulation of  policies and programmes that directly affect us.

Fewer than 12 per cent of the world's parliamentarians are women,
according to a  recent survey by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Most representative is Sweden,  with 40 per cent women MPs; Norway,
Finland and Denmark follow closely behind.  The UK now has a record
18 per cent, following the Labour Party's election  victory on 1
May 1997, bringing a total of 120 women MPs to Parliament. In the 
US, 11.7 per cent of legislators are women. The average in Arab
countries is 3.3  per cent. Ten nations, including Kuwait, Papua
New Guinea, Tonga and the United  Arab Emirates, have no women
parliamentarians. While disability has always been  a
characteristic to hide for parliamentarians, Uganda assures
disabled people  parliamentary seats and the UK has its first blind
minister and first full-time  wheelchair using MP - a Scottish
woman. South Africa has also had a disabled  woman MP since the new
administration.

Involuntary euthanasia for disabled people is becoming more and
more acceptable. 

In some hospitals, disabled people with a variety of impairments
who are not  dying have "do not resuscitate in the event of heart
failure" put on their  medical records. 

We have given some indication of the overall status of disabled
people. Now we  will examine in greater depth how disabled women
are particularly affected in  various life experiences.

"With the trauma of being abandoned by my mother at an early age,
I always had  to be reassured by those around me so that I would
not feel neglected or  rejected. It took me a long time to believe
in myself and my abilities."  Elisabeth.
     
"The disability has shaped my personality. I have become more
withdrawn and  introspective. I usually speak only when I am sure
of what is being talked  about. I rarely feel comfortable in other
people's company. It does not make for  much relaxation if you have
to be constantly alert to understand what people  around you are
discussing." Eunice.

Attitudes: Isolation and Invisibility:
Stereotyped and negative attitudes towards disabled people devalue
us. Much of  the discrimination experienced by disabled women is
based on an implicit notion  that we are not the same as other
women and so cannot be expected to share the  same rights and
aspirations. 

Women are generally discriminated against due to gender bias but
disabled women  face compound discrimination by being both women
and disabled. The isolation and  exclusion of disabled women even
extends to mainstream women and women's  movements, which deny us
our rights and identity.

Isolation and confinement based on culture and traditions,
attitudes and  prejudices often affect disabled women more than
men. This isolation of disabled  women leads to low self-esteem and
negative feelings. Lack of appropriate  support services and lack
of adequate education result in low economic status,  which, in
turn, creates dependency on families or care-givers.

Some societies go so far as to assign fault to a mother who gives
birth to a  disabled child, especially so if the mother is a
disabled woman.

Disabled women and men can experience different kinds of attitudes
based on  gender discrimination. While men are still seen as the
major bread-winners and  leaders of society, a disabled man,
considered "less of a man", won't conform to  that stereotype.
Similarly, a disabled woman won't conform to the feminine 
stereotype of wife, partner or mother and some lose the right to
keep their  children. 

Disabled women are not usually part of employment debates and
initiatives. They  are usually at least twice as unlikely as
disabled men to get a job. 

Culture plays a big part in reducing disabled women's role in
social, parental  and economic life.  

Because disabled people are often excluded from society, the
attitudes of the  public are heavily influenced by how disabled
people are portrayed in the media.  Disabled women are seldom seen
in ordinary roles as worker or mother.

Poverty:
If you are female, in any country, the odds are stacked against you
in terms of  provision of basic rights, such as a decent income,
education, health care and  employment. Disabled people in general
are also grossly over-represented among  poor people. 

While disability - the barriers of attitude and environment
experienced by  people with impairments - means that most remain
desperately poor, poverty is  also a major cause of impairments.
Vitamin A and iodine deficiencies,  malnutrition and unhygienic
environments are widespread causes.

Many disabled women in wealthy countries live below the breadline.
For example,  the allowance payable to an unemployed woman in the
UK is not sufficient for her  to have a decent diet or to ensure
bearing healthy children. The same goes for a  disabled woman, who
may also be dependent on a specific diet for her survival. 
Disability benefits, where these exist, do not come close to
covering the actual  costs of disability, particularly in countries
like Portugal and Ireland.  Technical aids and adaptations are only
reaching 2.5 per cent of disabled people  in developing countries
of which the majority are women.

While disabled women in such countries may live below the
breadline, with an  extremely poor quality of life compared to
their fellow citizens, in the poorer  countries, there is often no
bread at all and disabled people, particularly  young females, do
not survive, because of preference for non-disabled male  children.

"My pension is too low to secure a meal three times a day. I was
eating only  once a day and, as a result, I fell ill with diabetic
gangrene. My flat is  freezing and I have no money to live on."
Woman from Latvia.

"Parents of a disabled child should be counselled to help them
realise that the  disability is not a punishment and that they are
not to be blamed for it. Those  parents who cannot afford to
educate or care for their disabled child should be  subsidised.
When resources are scarce and parents have to make painful choices, 
they may reject a disabled child. The disabled child may not be
seen as the most  viable investment." Salome.

Health Care and Rehabilitation:
It has been estimated that services are reaching no more than 2 per
cent of  those in need in poorer countries. Rehabilitation is
almost totally inaccessible  to those living in rural areas and the
international situation is thought to be  no better now than 25
years ago.

The new Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, adopted by the
Council of  Europe in November 1996, allows scientific experiments
to be undertaken on  people incapable of giving consent - even if
the experiments are of no value to  the disabled person herself.
Many countries have policies to abort foetuses that  may become
disabled people. Some argue that euthanasia should be performed on 
severely impaired infants.

Some conditions, such as heart disease, are experienced by women
just as much as  men, but it isn't seen that way. Operations and
treatment can be delayed or even  withheld. Fewer resources are
targeted at women. Curing women, particularly if  they are not in
work, is not seen as being as urgent as curing men. 

Maternal health care is often denied disabled women, either because
it is not  considered right for them to bear children, or because
the available services do  not consider their particular needs.

Some traditional practices, especially female "circumcision"
disable millions of  women.

Information:
Lack of access to information has serious effects on disabled
women's health,  welfare, safety, opportunities and the exercise of
their rights.

For many disabled women, lack of confidentiality and invasion of
privacy, along  with prejudice and access difficulties, make
control over personal finance  impossible.

A lack of information on HIV and breast and cervical cancer
threatens the health  of disabled women. Information is not
targeted at or produced in formats  accessible to many women (such
as braille, tape or simple language).

Information about sex and sexuality is often limited for disabled
women.  Relatives whose traditional role is to share this knowledge
often ignore  disabled girls, as they are not seen as marriageable.
As well as being a denial  of our rights, this can lead to
unplanned pregnancy, abuse and disease.
"A disabled woman should be guaranteed some sort of training to
enable her to  earn a living because she needs to be more or less
self-reliant." Olga.
"I must point out that the education I received was of paramount
importance in  my life. It is the foundation for what I am today.
A proper education is  necessary to put a disabled child on an
equal level with non-disabled children."  Apoka.
     
"A disabled woman must acquire a solid education, no matter what
the cost. This  provides access to intellectual pleasures, which
are her rightful claim."  B+atrice.
     
Education and Training:
Many disabled people have been prevented from developing their
skills because of  discrimination in education and training. As
with non-disabled women, the  situation for disabled women is
compounded by the idea that education for women  is an unnecessary
waste of time and money. So, if education is inaccessible, it 
doesn't really matter if the child is female.

A large proportion of blind and other disabled girls in South Asia
remain  illiterate, while the general rate of literacy among women
has increased  considerably in all South Asian countries.

In India, 97-98 per cent of disabled male children receive no
education. We have  no figures for disabled female children, though
there is every likelihood that  it is lower still.

Even in the wealthy countries of Canada and Australia, 41 per cent
of disabled  children have only primary education.
     
Employment:
Employment is a critical component in enabling disabled women to
support  themselves financially and to achieve self-esteem and
social recognition. 

Women who are born with impairments are particularly disadvantaged.


Even where disabled women do sometimes find work, it will be
low-paid, low-status and in poor working conditions. In the UK,
while 30 per cent of non-disabled men are engaged in professional
or managerial work, the figures are 15  per cent of disabled men,
11 per cent of non-disabled women and 8 per cent of  disabled
women. By contrast, while 16 per cent of non-disabled men are
engaged  in semi-skilled or unskilled work, the figures are 27 per
cent of disabled men,  27 per cent of non-disabled women and 37 per
cent of disabled women.
The waste of human potential that unemployment ensures cannot be
justified on  the grounds that disabled people are not capable of
working or are often absent  from work - the opposite is true. High
unemployment and limited opportunities  are caused by ignorance,
prejudice, a reluctance to make even minor changes to  support
disabled people and discrimination in education and training which
means  disabled people are less qualified than their peers. Even
when disabled people  find work, discrimination continues in the
lack of promotion and training  opportunities. 
     
The Environment:
Environmental barriers create disability, limit opportunities and
deprive people  of their human rights. Lack of environmental
adjustments and the absence of  accessible buildings hinder
disabled women from enjoying freedom of movement  around and
between different countries and different parts of the built and 
natural environment.

There is a lack of access for disabled women to women-only
services, such as  refuges, rape crisis centres, health centres,
family planning clinics, dress  shops, hairdressers, etc. - which
underlines the assumption that we are not  really women, not
interested in our appearance or in control of our own  sexuality
and health.

Transport and Free Movement:
Transport for all disabled people is an important key to the
exercise of  citizenship and participation in society. Women in
general, and disabled women  in particular, are less mobile than
men - less likely to have access to a car;  more confined to the
home due to social and cultural patterns and to the actual  or
perceived threat of danger, especially after dark. 

In most places, most disabled people cannot use public transport.

Public transport is often inaccessible, uncomfortable and dangerous
for women  travelling alone.

Personal transport is often owned and used only by male members of
a household.

Being diagnosed as HIV positive prevents many people from
travelling between  countries.

No access to transport has serious effects on disabled people's
integration and  economic activity. It prevents them forming
self-help groups or taking control  of their lives. Reasons for not
providing accessible transport are generally  based on cost and
ignorance. For example, a disabled man lost a case of 
discrimination against Dutch Railways in 1993. The judge said that
as the  company was providing a public service it should provide it
equally to all  members of the public. However, since he didn't
believe the man to be part of  the public, he couldn't expect equal
treatment.

"It is almost impossible for a blind person to use public transport
without a  guide or companion. The drivers are undisciplined and
commuters compete  viciously with each other to grab hold of a door
handle or rail. Taxicabs could  be easier. However, they are risky
because few cab drivers are absolutely  trustworthy and a blind
passenger could be taken for a long ride to a nearby  destination
just to add to the taxi meter." Soledad.

"Buildings ignore the existence of disabled persons. During my
school years  access was a major problem, trying to go from one
floor to another in buildings  that had no lifts or ramps." Apoka.

Sexuality and Relationships:
Disabled people are much less likely than non-disabled people to
get married -  the numbers range from 4 per cent less likely in
Europe to 45 per cent less  likely in the Philippines. Disabled
women are less likely to marry than disabled  men; they also tend
to have a higher divorce rate.

Disabled women are not encouraged to explore their sexuality. If
they have a  sexual relationship, it is assumed that they are lucky
for whatever they can get  and certainly shouldn't make any further
demands or complain if they are  mistreated. 

Disabled women are also often not seen as capable of intimate
relationships or  equal partnerships. If they begin a partnership
with a non-disabled man or  woman, they are judged to be the weaker
partner - an emotional and financial  burden and an inadequate
sexual partner. If they form a partnership with a  disabled man or
woman, the attitude may be that no one else would have them;  that
it wasn't a genuine choice.

In cultures where marriages are arranged, disabled women are not
considered  suitable at all.

Disabled people are denied control of their sexuality and
reproduction - it is  only relatively recently that sterilising
people with learning difficulties has  been seen as an issue which
even requires consideration by legal process. In  China, the law
demands sterilisation of disabled women with hereditary 
conditions.

Hysterectomy of teen-aged disabled girls has been justified by the
argument that  menstruation is difficult to manage.
     
Family Life and Parenthood:
In most countries, girls have a lower status and enjoy fewer of the
rights,  opportunities and benefits of childhood than boys. Girls
and women bear a major  share of the burden of poverty. Poor rural
women in particular are among the  most deprived people in the
world. They are generally sicker and more illiterate  than men.
What is true of women generally is particularly so of disabled
women.

In all countries, a woman's physical image determines her value and
her chances  of getting married or forming a sexual partnership.
Whether she can bear  children, in particular non-disabled
children, and be judged a capable parent  also determines her value
as a woman.

Research shows that pressure is put on disabled women to abort
pregnancies and  to be sterilised. 

We are more than what we look like and more than machines for
bearing children.  Whether we can or cannot have children makes us
no less human, no less female,  no less capable of experiencing our
sexuality. In addition, disabled people can  make good or bad
parents - just like anyone else. In many cases, our experience  of
oppression can make us emotionally stronger, more tolerant, patient
and  understanding - all ideal qualifications for becoming a
parent!

Contrary to commonly held beliefs, although some disabled women may
face extra  challenges in pregnancy, child rearing and housework,
countless disabled women  have proved that they can handle them all
- using the organisational powers and  emotional strength developed
by managing their impairments and living in an  inaccessible world!

Developments in Genetics:
In the field of medical treatment, and in particular genetics,
there are many  discriminatory attitudes. It may be felt more
acceptable for a person's life to  be ended (or for them not to be
born) purely because they are disabled.
Prenatal diagnosis - of sex or impairment - aims to avoid the birth
of groups of  people defined as "inferior". In the case of
impairment, selection is exercised  in the context of an ideology
that says it is morally acceptable to prevent  disabled children.
Resources are not usually readily available to allow women  the
"choice" to knowingly give birth to a disabled baby. The latest
point at  which abortions can normally be performed varies from
country to country, but is  generally between 22 and 26 weeks; in
the United Kingdom and several other  countries, abortion of a
foetus suspected of having an impairment is legal up to  the moment
of birth. 

Forced abortion and sterilisation are surgical interventions that
many disabled  women have felt pressure to undergo. Many
non-disabled women are also encouraged  to feel that they are being
irresponsible by thinking about going ahead with the  birth of a
disabled infant; that the "kindest" thing that they can do is to
end  the pregnancy. 

Disabled people are not usually involved in the genetic counselling
of parents  who are expecting a baby with an impairment. 

Economic and emotional arguments - that a disabled child will be
burden to its  family and a drain on financial resources and
emotional energy - are used to  justify abortion, including the
wider issue of responsibility to society to keep  it "pure".

The Chinese Government shelved its euthanasia and eugenics policy
due to  international outcry - but only temporarily, because they
were hosting the  Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in
1994. By the start of 1995, the  legislation was on the statute
books. The law "persuades" disabled women to  undergo sterilisation
and all women to abort in the case of impairment.
"In our society a woman marries into the husband's family. She is
expected to  work for the family, i.e. physical work. Disabled
women are not prime candidates  for marriage. I am an unmarried
mother and have never come close to marriage. I  love being a
mother and the responsibility I have for my sons makes my life 
worthwhile. However, raising two children alone is not an easy
task.  Occasionally, I miss the company of a male partner but I try
to push the  loneliness away by immersing myself in my job and
family." Gloria.

"The most difficult part of my life was my adolescence. Many
parents did not  want me as their daughter-in-law. They chased
their sons away when they saw us  together. Or a boyfriend would
come simply out of curiosity, without any  feeling, and deceive me
in the most cruel way because he was ashamed to have me  for a
wife." Marie-Th+r_se.

"Some men consider a disabled woman an object of embarrassment and
they could  never think of marrying her. Other men believe that a
disabled woman cannot  assume full responsibility for the household
and for bringing up children."  Apoka.

"Now the time has come when society should start accepting disabled
women. There  are many disabled women who are capable and
intelligent but are rejected by  society. Why? And just because a
woman is disabled, she cannot get married  because the man's
parents refuse to accept her as their daughter-in-law. The 
preposterous reason is that they adhere to the old tradition and
give priority  to what society would say rather than to their son's
feelings about the woman."  Nafisa.

"The day of our wedding was another trial for us. The church was
full. Some  people came simply out of curiosity. My husband's
sisters cried during the  entire ceremony. I cannot really explain
why they were crying. Life in our home  is still extremely
difficult. My husband's family does not want to accept me.  They
tell my husband all sorts of stories to create conflict between
us." Marie-Th+r_se.

"It is necessary to lift the veil on certain aspects considered
taboo or  unacceptable for disabled women. Child-bearing has long
been considered  impossible for a disabled woman. The existing
mentality is that the woman is at  the centre of the household,
doing the work and raising the children. In  general, she is like
a servant." Yawa.

"Getting appropriate contraception for family planning purposes was
not easy for  me as a disabled person. The nurses at the clinic had
a very negative attitude."  Gloria.

Abuse and Violence:
Disabled people experience high levels of abuse of all kinds -
physical,  emotional and sexual.

Abuse of disabled people is often carried out by women - on whom
the person is  more likely to be dependent.

Statistics indicate that disabled women are more likely to be
sexually abused  than non-disabled women. Sometimes the abuser
tries to convince the disabled  woman, or others, that he is doing
her a favour since few men will have sex with  disabled women. It
is very likely that cases against abusers of disabled people  will
not come to court.

Because of the strong emphasis on physical appearance in every
society, disabled  women are made to feel less worthy than
non-disabled women. This negative self-image, along with the
silencing or non-belief of victims and the lack of  prosecutions of
alleged abusers, increases the risk of sexual abuse. 

Forced sterilisation without informed consent for the convenience
of others is  used to prevent disabled women having children and,
mistakenly, to "protect"  them from sexual abuse. It can do no such
thing. It may prevent a pregnancy  following rape but not a
sexually transmitted disease or other trauma. Rape  prevention
needs different strategies. By contrast, men with learning 
difficulties - often also the survivors of sexual abuse - are not
usually forced  into vasectomies. However, this has been the case,
to prevent reproduction,  particularly in the United States and
Canada, until relatively recently - just  as women with learning
difficulties are forced into sterilisations.
Female Genital Mutilation:
There is growing evidence that wide variations of mutilation are
performed on  female children in different countries. It is
estimated that over 100 million  girls and women in more than 28
countries in Africa alone are genitally  mutilated. At the current
rate of population growth in Africa, two million girls  a year -
some 6,000 a day - are estimated to be at risk of female genital 
mutilation (FGM).

However, information available on total prevalence and rates by
type of  operation is incomplete. It is often based on anecdotal
reports or biased  samples using unclear or faulty methods of data
collection. The only country  with reliable nationwide data on FGM
is Sudan, where three surveys included data  on this group of
practices.

Outside Africa, FGM is practised in Oman, north and south Yemen,
the United Arab  Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and some areas of Saudi
Arabia. Reports from doctors  and midwives working in the Middle
East indicate that the most severe form,  infibulation, is
practised widely by immigrants from Sudan and Somalia. However, 
the extent of the practice in the Middle East is unknown and
research data is  required to confirm its prevalence and type. FGM
is practised by the Ethiopian  Jewish Falashas who have recently
settled in Israel. 

Clitoridectomy is reported to be practised in the developing world
by some  indigenous people in Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil.
Again the extent of the  practice is unknown. Excision of the
external female genitals is said to be  practised by the Muslim
populations of Indonesia and Malaysia and by Bohra  Muslims in
India, Pakistan and east Africa.

In richer countries - Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA -
immigrant women  from areas where FGM is practised are reported to
be genitally mutilated, but  there are no studies on its prevalence
in immigrant populations nor on the  numbers of girls at risk.
There is little doubt, however, about the physical and 
psychological consequences of these practices, which range from
mobility  difficulties, impaired sexual function and infertility
because of infection, to  an increased risk of HIV infection.

Multiple Discrimination:
Many disabled people face discrimination on the basis of ideas
about race,  religion, gender, sexuality, marital or parental
status, age and language as  well as impairment.

Women with learning difficulties and women with a history of mental
health  service treatment may experience discrimination from other
disabled women in a  similar way to discrimination from
non-disabled women and men. 

The symptoms of hidden impairments, which include cancer, diabetes,
epilepsy,  arthritis and hundreds of other conditions, may come and
go, leaving the  individual and others with the feeling that they
are not "really" disabled,  especially if the ways in which these
conditions limit an individual seem to be  not as severe as people
with more obvious impairments. 

     
STRATEGIES FOR CHANGE

General:
Press for rights for disabled women at international level and in
individual  countries.

Raise international, regional, national and local awareness of the
issues  affecting disabled women.

Increase participation of disabled women in their communities and
within  disability organisations.

Include disabled women in the mainstream women's movement to ensure
full  participation in development.

Change societal attitudes and prejudices, and those of families and
governments  which stereotype disabled people.

Increase the opportunity for education and training for disabled
women.

Increase access to services, facilities and transportation.

Families with disabled members should be provided with education
about the needs  and rights of disabled women, and resources should
be available for support in  the community.

Disabled women should be encouraged to form local groups and
self-help  organisations, which will help them increase their
self-esteem.

"Every day I discover something new. Through the organisation I not
only learned  my rights but also my obligations to other disabled
people and to my country."  Diari+tou.

"Designers, architects, builders and engineers should keep in mind
that disabled  people also live in the city and that they have
needs such as wheelchair ramps,  designated parking spaces and
special access. We are all part of society."  Paulina.

Organise media campaigns to make the public aware of the needs and
abilities of  disabled people." Marie-Th+r_se.

International Action:
Use the following documents to work for disabled women's rights.
All articles in  these documents are of relevance to disabled women
in certain circumstances. We  have given you any articles or
clauses that specifically mention women or  disability.

The UN Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for
Persons with  Disabilities. Disabled women and their organisations
should be continuously  consulted in the national and international
follow-up.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:
Articles 2, 7,  10.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Articles 2,
5, 6, 23, 26.

UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women

Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Articles 2, 23, 24d.

International Labour Organisation Convention 159 Concerning
Vocational  Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons)

ILO Recommendation No. 168 on the same subject

European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms:  Articles 12, 14.

European Social Charter: Part 1 and Articles 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 15,
17.

European Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights for Workers

Florence Agreement and its Protocol on the importance of
educational, scientific  and cultural materials.

UNESCO Salamanca Declaration on Special Needs Education

You can get copies of all United Nations documents from your
national UN  information office or from the relevant agencies.

Regional Action:
To meet the challenge of including disabled women in society is
beyond the  capacity of any one organisation. It is crucial that
the priorities of disabled  women be addressed in partnership
between development agencies, the regional  bodies, national
governments, women's organisations and disability  organisations. 

Organisations of disabled people should unite on policy issues to
have a strong  impact on governments and societies and to emphasise
an inclusive approach in  all areas of equalisation of
opportunities. 

Disabled women should meet at a regional level to discuss issues of
common  concern. 

National Action:
All states have a responsibility to create the legal base for
achieving the  objectives of full participation and equality for
disabled women and men, in  accordance with Standard Rule No. 15.
     
Legislation should not discriminate against disabled people and
should include  aspects such as social security, environmental
access, transport, medical and  technical facilities. It should
take into particular consideration the needs of  disabled women as
a legal right. 

Disabled women can use any non-discrimination legislation relating
to gender.

You can use international instruments, such as the Standard Rules,
at national  level.

You can combine disability and women's issues to lobby government.

Organise representation on national committees and focal points for
women's  issues, set up as part of the Convention on Elimination of
All Discrimination  Against Women, and for disability issues, set
up in accordance with the World  Programme of Action Concerning
Disabled Persons. National focal points can link  with others in a
regional network.

In accordance with UN Standard Rule no. 17, national disability
committees  should be strengthened, if necessary, or established
where they do not exist.  Disabled women and their organisations
should be active members.

Disabled women should be actively involved in both disabled
people's self-help  organisations and women's organisations.
Organisations of disabled persons at  national and regional level
should encourage the establishment of sub-committees  of disabled
women or independent disabled women's groups. 

Disabled people's organisations need to set up effective
partnerships and  cooperation with one another and with other
organisations outside the disability  movement, whether at the
local or national level, including human rights bodies,  women's
organisations and groups concerned with bioethical issues.

There should be a stronger presence of disabled women in national
delegations to  international meetings, committees and commissions
concerning issues of either  women or disabled persons. 

The participation of disabled women should be generally encouraged,
not just  supported when topics related to them are specifically on
the agenda.

Governmental and non-governmental national, regional and
international women's  organisations and bodies should include
disabled women and issues related to  them within the general
women's movement, implementing action plans according to  the
present recommendations, as well as the Platform for Action from
the UN  Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

Organisational Action:
Coming together as part of a disability organisation or a women's
organisation  is essential to work effectively at local, national,
regional or international  levels.

Work with other women's groups.

Ensure that any organisations you join have by-laws or guidelines
that guarantee  the representation of disabled women.

Ensure that organisations have projects specifically focused on
disabled women.

Individual Action:
If there isn't one, or not one that expresses your views, set up a
disabled  women's network, perhaps using a regular newsletter, in
your city or country.

Pass this resource kit on to a neighbour, friend or organisation -
or copy parts  of it to councillors, members of parliament or
members of government.

Build networks for disabled women and links with the mainstream
women's  movement.

Support other women and encourage their development.

Write to the UN Commission on the Status of Women about the
inclusion of  disabled women.

Training: 
Disabled women should be encouraged to participate in training
programmes within  national bodies that organise leadership and
management development. Programmes  should also be designed
specifically for disabled women, as well as be  considered an
integrated part of existing women's training programmes.

Leadership training seminars, educational programmes and job
training programmes  for establishing co-operatives and
income-generating activities should be  organised at local levels,
including rural areas, to increase disabled women's  awareness of
their own situation at the grass-roots level and to stimulate their 
active participation.

Special mentor programmes should be started and supported at local
and regional  levels, where women within the disability movement
consciously support each  other through the various phases of life
in their personal development and  empowerment.

Various regional organisations as well as the UN system should
assist disabled  women in developing leadership skills through the
elaboration of model curricula  by ILO and UNESCO to be used at
various levels of leadership in all countries  and through
technical co-operation. All efforts should be made to have disabled 
women as trainers. 

Funding for Change:
Organised activity cannot be effective if it is unsupported. The
Standard Rules  specifically encourage member states to fund
disabled people's organisations.

The UN, specialised agencies and various other international,
national and local  donor agencies should also include funding of
programmes for disabled women  among their priorities. Mainstream
funding programmes should earmark support for  projects related to
disabled women. 

When priorities do exist in favour of disabled people or women,
favourable  considerations should be given to the inclusion of
programmes or components of  programmes for disabled women.

"Although there is a law on disabled people in my country, it is
not put into  practice. Nothing is done in our favour . . . I
participated in a seminar on  disabled people which took place in
Strasbourg. I am a member of the Bucharest  branch of the National
Society of Disabled People in Romania. That journey was a  great
experience. I will never forget those days spent in Strasbourg. I
made  some friends." Carmelia.

"The Government's way of solving the economic crisis is to put lots
of people  out of employment, starting with disabled people. I am
one of them and there is  no organisation or law to protect me.
This is the case for all disabled people  in Portugal . . . If I
lose my job, I will receive only half my current salary -  which
means I won't be able to afford my house and will have to move to
an  institution. I would rather die than let that happen."
Portuguese disabled  woman.

"My friends don't go to theatres, cinemas and shops if they aren't
accessible.  They protect my rights but my government doesn't. We
must end the apartheid we  are living with." Sharon.
     
"Inclusion will not happen unless all disabled people, including
disabled women,  have equality." Rita.

Research:
We need to have the facts and figures to support our demands for
equal  opportunities. These facts and figures must be accurate and
based on our own  experience.

National governments should take early steps to incorporate the
collection of  gender-specific data on issues related to disability
in existing statistical  series. Moreover, each country should
undertake nationwide surveys on disability  to investigate the
incidence of impairment in the country, its major causes and 
measures taken by individuals or families to deal with the
situation. 

Of great importance is a model questionnaire for this purpose by
the UN  Statistical Office to highlight the issue of disabled women
and which obtains  such information as income level, employment and
educational attainment, among  others. Such a survey allows an
analysis of the national situation and permits  regional and
international comparisons. It would also be advisable to have 
personnel trained in data collection on disabled women involved in
household  surveys and censuses.

The revision of the International Classification of Impairment,
Disability and  Handicap (ICIDH) should in every respect take
gender-specific differences into  account. In all aspects -
impairment, disability, participation, environmental  factors - the
situation of disabled women and men is likely to differ. Manuals 
and any accompanying guidelines should all make reference to gender
specific  aspects of disability. 

Any development programme for disabled women should investigate the
actual  living conditions of disabled women both in urban and rural
areas. Furthermore  there should be research on the ways and means
of improving the status, raising  the living standard of disabled
women and providing necessary facilities to  them. Research should
be stimulated and grants given to researchers in a large  number of
subject areas to investigate the situation of disabled women. 

Descriptions about their situation provided by disabled women
themselves should  be the most important source of information.
Women's own interpretation and  documentation of their experiences,
which is now underway, can be the start of a  worldwide research
project on disabled women. It is suggested to gradually  create an
international network linked to the national focal point on
disabled  women.

Other socio-economic and political studies concerning the social
situation of  disabled women should be encouraged. 

Particular attention should be given to the exchange of research
experiences. In  this context special attention should be given to
recruit and educate suitably  qualified disabled women as
researchers.

Research should be done on the situation of disabled female
migrants, refugees  and other homeless people. 

Large-scale research is also necessary to investigate the amount
and kind of  violence disabled women encounter.


ACTION FOR CHANGE
There are thousands of successful projects which have made a
profound difference  to disabled women. We have focused on the
activities or characteristics of a few  of those known to us. Each
of the solutions given here affect disabled women at  a local
level. They are appropriate, cost-effective and empowering. 

Income Generation:
Income generation is the solution to poverty for disabled women.
Through  projects that generate a livelihood for individuals,
disabled women are able to  contribute to the economy of the
community. Income generation projects bring  improvements to all
aspects of disabled women's lives. They increase skills,  allow
social interaction and independence, give a new role and status to 
disabled women within family and community. They require funding to
start and  expand but returns are considerable, not just in
financial terms.

Community-Based Services:
Community based services are based on the idea of community
development: when  individuals are empowered to take action to
improve their own lives, they become  contributors rather than a
drain on resources and the entire community benefits.

For example, a road that is improved to help villagers who use a
wheelchair or  scooter for mobility also helps people who ride
bicycles, delivery people who  use animals to carry heavy loads,
and elderly people who have difficulty seeing  and walking. An
improved system of early detection of impairments ensure that 
children who might, through neglect, be more severely impaired are
identified  and treated as early as possible and to the fullest
extent possible, thereby  utilising fewer of the scarce community
resources. The visibility of these  children helps them to become
"salespersons" of health services to parents who  might not
otherwise seek help.

Appropriate Technology:
The basic idea of community-based services and independent living
applies to  appropriate technology: disabled people are involved at
all levels in policy-making and service-provision. Through
technology programmes, they not only get  appropriate appliances
for their individual use but also employment - not  "sheltered",
poorly-paid employment but dignified, useful work in a supportive 
environment.
     
Naturally, all technology should be appropriate to individual use
and to the  environmental context. It should take into
consideration the socio-economic,  cultural and technical aspects
of the whole community. There are now a huge  range of
organisations producing technological support for disabled people.
This  work is enormously important in liberating disabled women and
in providing  models for work worldwide.

Empowerment:
Empowerment involves disabled women understanding their right to be
citizens and  being given the tools for equality and participation.
It is achieved principally  through disabled women coming together
to share their experiences, to gain  strength from one another and
to provide positive role models. It means breaking  away from an
identity of grateful passivity and finding the will and the power 
to change one's own circumstances. This is not an easy or
comfortable process  for disabled women or for the wider community.
However, it is an essential  component in the struggle for full
participation and equality of opportunity.

Independent Living:
Independent or self-determined living is the direct result of the
self-advocacy  of disabled people and is usually operated through
local, non-residential  centres of enablement. It is fundamentally
important to stress that these  centres are under the direct
control of disabled people themselves, to provide  the necessary
support and services they require to lead fully independent lives, 
and to become fully participating members of an integrated
community.
The role of centres of independent living is not to repeat existing
services  where these are satisfactory. Research, linked with
practical experience, has  shown that there needs to be a major
re-direction of resources in terms of  planning, design and service
delivery for, and by, disabled people. Independent  living can also
become a focus for developing services with existing agencies. 
Empowering disabled people in this way leads to more efficient
expenditure of  resources and, at the same time, increases disabled
people's skills and enables  them to lead an improved quality of
life.

Education and Information:
Accessible and relevant information on every subject is vital to
disabled women.  Similarly, accurate information about disability
issues is vital to the  community as a whole. The majority of
disabled women do not receive an adequate  education, due to access
difficulties and prejudice, and this contributes  considerably to
their marginalisation and exclusion. These barriers can be 
overcome. Investment in disabled women's education benefits the
whole society.
The power of the media to shape attitudes and beliefs is difficult
to judge.  What we do know is that television, radio and newspapers
are powerful ways to  convey ideas and to break down prejudices
between people living a continent  apart - and those living on the
same street.
     
The development and expansion of information technology, much of it
financially  inaccessible to disabled people at present, could
nevertheless liberate  millions. Communications systems allow a few
of the most severely disabled  people to interact with those around
them and in some cases to work. Talking  computers allow people
with visual impairments to gain employment.
The Standard Rules set down measures for member states to work
towards the  integration of disabled people. Integration cannot
operate by adapting disabled  people to existing structures, the
basis of so much of what is called  "rehabilitation". Integration
occurs when societies begin to celebrate, not  isolate, differences
between people. It is based on mutual support and  understanding
and a sharing of resources and facilities among the many not the 
few.

Integration:
Disabled women must be considered in all mainstream policy
decisions and  programmes. They form a significant part of every
other group in society - such  as refugees, children, racial
minority groups. At present, disabled women are  totally ignored,
sometimes even in special disability policies, where these  exist
at all. Until disabled women are seen as an integral part of their 
communities and societies, with adequate provision for their needs
within a  community setting, the vast majority of the world's
disabled women will remain  isolated and destitute.

Examples:
Most projects show some, if not all, of the elements described
above.

Ramu is the leader of an Indian sangham [cooperative] and lives
with her  daughter, aged eight. Her husband has left her. She
applied to the government  for a loan to buy a pair of goats.
Initially it was refused but with pressure  from the sangham it was
eventually granted. Ramu explains: "By myself I did not  have power
to persuade the bank to give me a loan for the goats, but when the 
sangham came in behind me, they eventually agreed. The sangham
gives me energy  and strength. But it is not only because we can
get loans through it: we are  more confident in ourselves now. And
because we are in a group, the other people  in the village respect
us more now. Before, we were just forgotten individuals.  Now, we
are people who can do something."

For disabled women, illiteracy leads to low self-esteem and
drastically  restricts the opportunity for social participation and
employment. In 1991,  ACOGIPRI, a self-advocacy organisation in El
Salvador began a literacy project  for disabled women. It has
reached hundreds of disabled women from central  American
countries. The articles and poems written by these women show that
they  have developed self-esteem, raised their status within their
family, community  and organisations. Their chances of skilled
employment are also considerably  increased.

While 20 million people in developing countries need wheelchairs,
less than 1  per cent own or have access to them. The Wheeled
Mobility Center (WMC) in  California aims to improve the mobility
of disabled people worldwide. It does  this by exchanging
wheelchair designs and manufacturing technology with  mechanics and
small machine shops around the world, thus disseminating the 
specific skills required for building wheelchairs. 
     
Since 1980, the WMC has helped to start 30 wheelchair production
shops in 25  countries; over 250 mechanics have been trained and
more than 10,000 wheelchairs  have been produced. The WMC is also
the communications hub of the Whirlwind  Network, a web of
independent wheelchair production shops in developing  countries.
     
Since the WMC's start in 1980, women have been the source of
critical design  breakthroughs and provided leadership that kept
shops stable in difficult times.  However, women have often become
marginalised in the male-dominated trade of  wheelchair building.
The WMC founded Whirlwind Women in 1994 to encourage  women's
participation in wheelchair design and manufacturing. Whirlwind
Women  has conducted training seminars in basic shops skills such
as measurement, metal  working and welding.

In Nicaragua, there is a programme for the integrated development
of disabled  women, consisting of nine projects throughout the
country. These projects  include the 'New Hope' coffee shop,
literacy work, technical aids and training,  a chicken rearing
project, work with the local department of health and 
awareness-raising. In March 1995, women from each project met in
Managua to  share development experiences and ideas.

There are many national disabled women's networks. For example,
disabled women  in Uganda have formed a network representing and
coordinating disabled women's  work. It is a resource for
development work with disabled women. It keeps up to  date with
international events and action relating to disabled women. In 
addition, many organisations at local, national, regional and
international  levels have set up women's committees, such as the
Deaf Women's Wing of the  Kenya Association of the Deaf.

Parentability is a British project supporting disabled people in
pregnancy and  parenting. It is part of the National Childbirth
Trust and provides networks of  information and support. One of
Parentability's projects "Images of Disabled  People as Parents"
involved collecting positive images of disabled people for  use in
publications and as an exhibition.


RESOURCES
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Spanish. From  AHRTAG, Farringdon Point, 29-35 Farringdon Road,
London EC1M 3JB, United  Kingdom. Fax: +44 171 242 0041. E-mail:
ahrtag@gn.apc.org

AHRTAG, CBR News. From AHRTAG, Farringdon Point, 29-35 Farringdon
Road, London  EC1M 3JB, United Kingdom. Fax: +44 171 242 0041.
E-mail: ahrtag@gn.apc.org

AHRTAG, Women and HIV/AIDS: an international resource book, 1993.
From IT  Publications Ltd., 103-105 Southampton Row, London WC1B
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E-mail: itpubs@gn.apc,org

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, It's About Time! Human Rights are Women's
Rights, 1995.  152 pages. ISBN 0-939994-98-4. US$8.95. English
only.

BOYLAN, Esther, Women and Disability, Zed Books, London, 1991.
English only.

CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE LAW AND POLICY, Women of the World: Formal
Laws and  Policies Affecting their Reproductive Lives, 1995. 40
pages. US$5. English only.

CENTRE FOR THE REHABILITATION OF THE PARALYSED, BANGLADESH, 'Low
Trolley, High  Spirits', a video about disabled women in
Bangladesh. From Wendy Best, CRP  Development Officer, 'Monksmead',
27 East Street, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0AN,  United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 1460 53247. Fax: +44 1460 52436. UK.5 for hire.

COLERIDGE, Peter, Disability, Liberation and Development, Oxfam
Publications,  Oxford, United Kingdom, 1993. English only.

DEGENER, Theresia, and KOSTER-DREESE, Yolan, Human Rights and
Disabled Persons,  Martinus Nijhoff, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 1995.

DESPUOY, Leandro, Human Rights and Disability, 1994. United
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DISABLED PEOPLES' INTERNATIONAL, DPI Women's Kit. English only.
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Canada R3L 2T3.

DORKENOO, Efua, Cutting the Rose: Female Genital Mutilation, The
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CONTACTS
Disabled Peoples' International Women's Committee, Justine
Kiwanuka, 101-107  Evergreen Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3L
2T3. Tel: +1 204 287 8010. Fax:  +1 204 453 1367. E-mail:
dpi@dpi.org Or Anneli Joneken, Kistavagen 7, S-192 67  Sollentuna,
Sweden. Tel: +46 8 754 6420. Fax: +46 8 6268567. E-mail: 
anneli@joneken.se or Box 22114, S-104 22 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel:
+46 8 652 0720.  Fax: +46 8 651 8905.

Division for the Advancement of Women, Centre for Social
Development and  Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Office at
Vienna, Vienna International  Centre, PO Box 500, A-1400 Vienna,
Austria. Tel: +43 1 21131 4248. Fax: +43 1  232 156.

DISWEB, the European Network of Women with Disabilities, Elisa
Pelkonen, Chair,  Mariankaro 24 E 40, FIN-001 70, Helsinki,
Finland. Tel: +358 9 1357925. Fax:  +358 9 68501199, or Dolores
Schembri, Secretary, 4 Busewdien RD, Wardija St.,  Paul's Bay,
Malta.

IMPACT, the international initiative against avoidable disablement.
C/o WHO, 20  Appia Avenue, CH-1211, Geneva 27, Switzerland. Tel:
+41 22 791 3732/3. Fax: +41  22 791 0746.

Inclusion International, Galeries de la Toison d'Or, 29 Chauss+e
d'Ixelles,  #393/32, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium. Tel: +32 2 502 77
34. Fax: +32 2 502 28 46.

INSTRAW, International Research and Training Institute for the
Advancement of  Women, PO Box 21747, Santo Domingo, Dominican
Republic.

Mobility International USA, PO Box 10767, Eugene, Oregon 97440,
USA. Tel: +1 503  343  1284. Fax: +1 503 343 6812. E-mail:
miusa@igc.apc.org

NOSEVI, the Network of Disabled Feminists Against Sexual Violence,
Dinah Radtke,  Zentrum f|r Selbstbestimmtes Leben Behinderter e.V.
Erlangen, Marquardsenstr.  21, 91052 Erlangen, Germany. Tel: + 49
91 31 205022.

UNIFEM, United Nations Development Fund for Women, 304 East 45th
Street, 6th  Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA.

United Nations Children's Fund, 3 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017,
USA.

UN Working Group on Traditional Practices, UN Human Rights Center,
Palais des  Nations, CH-1202, Geneva, Switzerland. Working group on
female genital  mutilation at international level.

Women's Committee, Asian Blind Union, Mrs Anurdha Mohit, The
National  Association for the Blind, Sector 5, R.K. Puram, New
Delhi - 110 022, India.

World Blind Union, c/o CBC ONCE, La Coru/a 18, 28020 Madrid, Spain.
Tel: +34 1  571 36 85. Fax: +34 1 571 57 77. Women's issues:
Kristina "Kicki" Nordstrom,  Swedish Association of the Visually
Impaired, 12288 Enskede, Sweden. Tel: +46 8  39 90 00. Fax: +46 8
39 91 77.

World Federation of the Deaf, 13D, Chemin du Levant, F-01210,
Ferney-Voltaire,  France. Fax: +33 4 50 40 01 07. Women's issues:
Anne Marie Wikstrom, Granvagen  9, S-793 33 Leksand, Sweden.
Textphone: +46 247 12186 or +46 247 64112. Fax: +46  247 14165.

World Federation of Psychiatric Users, PO Box 46018, Herne Bay,
Auckland, New  Zealand. Tel: +64 9 378 7477. Fax: +64 9 360 2180.


We came here because we are women.
We came here to expose our abilities.
We came here to share our experiences.
We came here to strengthen networking among women with disabilities
and other  women.
We came here to make ourselves visible.

Now we are leaving with our expectations partly met:
We have made some impact.
We have made people aware of us.
We have socialised and gained contacts all over the world.

But we are aware that there is a lot more work to be done 
before we achieve our basic goal 
of equality with women in general in our respective countries.

Watch out!
Women with disabilities are on the move!

from Women Walk on Water, published by the delegates 
of the Swedish Handicapped International Aid Foundation (SHIA)  to
the 4th World Congress on Women, Beijing, China, September 1995.

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End of Document


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