International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Ana Peláez Narváez: “Nothing about women with disabilities should be done without women with disabilities”

Date: Thursday, December 3, 2020

The virtual meeting between Ana Peláez Narváez and activists for the rights of women with disabilities in Georgia. Photo: UN Women
The virtual meeting between Ana Peláez Narváez and activists for the rights of women with disabilities in Georgia. Photo: UN Women

Within the framework of the UN Joint Programme “Transforming Social Protection for Persons with Disabilities in Georgia”, UN Women contributes to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls with disabilities on an equal basis with others.

On 3 December 2020, UN Women Georgia in partnership with the CEDAW Committee Secretariat and NGO partners - Partnership for Human Rights and Women & Reality - organized a virtual meeting with CEDAW Committee members Ana Peláez Narváez and Lika Nadaraia on women’s rights activism by women with disabilities. The meeting was held on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and further coincided with the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, celebrated annually from 25 November to 10 December.

In 2018, Ms. Peláez Narváez made history for both the disability and women’s empowerment movements as she was the first woman with a disability to be elected to the CEDAW Committee in its 37-year history. The meeting between Ms. Peláez Narváez and activists for the rights of women with disabilities in Georgia was organized with the aim to discuss challenges and opportunities, as well as priority issues for advocacy on the rights of women and girls with disabilities globally and in Georgia. The meeting was attended by the members of a platform of civil society organizations working on the rights of women and girls with disabilities established with the support of UN Women and in close collaboration with UNFPA in the fall of 2020.

“There are 600 million women and girls with disabilities in the world, but there are very few organizations which represent them,” Ms. Peláez Narváez remarked in her address. “Many disability rights organizations do not specifically work on the rights of women with disabilities, and many women’s organizations fail to capture the rights and interests of women with disabilities in their work. Governments, but also development organizations and women’s organizations, should ensure that women with disabilities are included in the human rights agenda. Moreover, it is imperative to include women with disabilities in decision-making at all levels, adhering to the principle that nothing about women with disabilities should be done without women with disabilities.”

Acting UN Women Country Representative in Georgia Tamar Sabedashvili further noted: “Conceptualizing the ‘nothing about us without us’ approach, UN Women Georgia works to strengthen capacities and empower activists and organizations of women with disabilities. We are further working with women’s civil society organizations to strengthen linkages and build bridges between organizations of disabled women and organizations that work on gender equality and women’s empowerment.”

The meeting was organized under the UN Joint Programme “Transforming Social Protection for Persons with Disabilities in Georgia” generously funded by the Joint SDG Fund and implemented by six UN agencies: UNICEF, UNDP, OHCHR, UNFPA, UN Women and WHO.