UN Women accelerates Work on the Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities

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Mako Khalvashi, one of the women supported by the UN Women component. Photo: Mako's personal archive
Mako Khalvashi, one of the women supported by the UN Women component. Photo: Mako's personal archive 

The empowerment of women and girls with disabilities is an integral part of gender equality agenda. In addition to stand-alone programmes on the empowerment of women and girls with disabilities, it is critical to ensure that disability issues are fully integrated into gender equality programmes and initiatives. At the same time, it is important that initiatives supporting women with disabilities are implemented in line with the concept of “Nothing About Us Without Us”.

Based on 2014 data, 184,958 persons in Georgia (5.0 per cent of the population) had functional disabilities. Similar to the global trend, more women (5.6 per cent) than men (4.3 per cent) have a disability in Georgia as well, yet fewer women and girls have an official status. Compared to men, they have fewer opportunities in terms of education, employment and income generation.

To take stock of progress achieved within the framework of the UN Joint Programme „Transforming Social Protection for Persons with Disabilities in Georgia” as well as strategize about how UN Women can better address the rights and needs of of women and girls with disabilities, Stocktaking Meeting on Women on Strengthening Gender Equality and the Empowrment of Women and Girls with Disabilities was held. Representatives of civil society organizations and activists working on the rights of women and girls with disabilities attended the event. In addition to reviewing the project results, the participants discussed the challenges and priorities to be taken into consideration by UN Women and civil society for the development of inclusive policies and programmes.

The UN Women component of the UN Joint Programme „Transforming Social Protection for Persons with Disabilities in Georgia” was carried out in close partnership with civil society organizations. As a part of the Joint Programme, up to 200 women (including 100 persons with disabilities) and 36 organizations were able to strengthen their knowledge, while 109,000 women and girls with disabilities received information about their rights. In addition, as part of the project, statistical publications were developed, significantly improving the availability of data on the issues of gender and disabilities and serving as useful resources for organizations working on these topics. Podcasts and stories were also produced within the framework of the project, assisting up to a million people to learn more about women and girls with disabilities. Additionally, with the Joint programme support, Georgia’s first ever CSO shadow report for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) focusing on the rights of women and girls with disabilities was submitted to the Committee.

When speaking about the project results, Tamar Macharashvili, the head of the organization “Woman and Reality” mentioned that the project became a foundation on which larger-scale inclusive efforts can be built: “The project provided an opportunity to assess the current situation more clearly, how we—human rights activists—women with or without disabilities, understand and implement more inclusive initiatives and how to better promote the rights of women and girls with disabilities. It is necessary to support such joint programmes in which women with disabilities will be fully and equally engaged.”

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