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Recognition, respect and rights: disabled women in a globalised world A/Professor Helen Meekosha Women with Disabilities Australia & School of Social Sciences.

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Presentation on theme: "Recognition, respect and rights: disabled women in a globalised world A/Professor Helen Meekosha Women with Disabilities Australia & School of Social Sciences."— Presentation transcript:

1 Recognition, respect and rights: disabled women in a globalised world A/Professor Helen Meekosha Women with Disabilities Australia & School of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia

2 谢谢邀请我告诉 Thank you for inviting me 我非常在中国荣幸并且被激发在这里以您 I am very honoured and excited to be here with you in Guangzhou, China

3 Organising with disabled women Worldwide disabled women have not achieved same level of equality as non disabled women or as disabled men. Yet disabled women often at forefront of organising, networking for change and supporting each other.

4 This paper This paper gives an overview of status of disabled women Describes how disabled women organise for social change Identifies some major issues disabled women face Briefly describes the work of Women with Disabilities Australia

5 How do we think and talk about disabled women ? Being a woman and being disabled involves issues with bodies But not just about biology Social practices and cultural traditions construct how we talk and think and act towards disabled women – often demeaning, stigmatising and abusive But disabled women are also proud, strong, artistic, good mothers and good at organising.

6 Disabled women and girls an overview 325 million disabled women worldwide Majority live in developing countries Data collection disabled women limited On all social indicators women do less well than men- income, employment, education, literacy UNICEF study in Nepal – boys survival rate with polio twice that of girls

7 Sufiya, 8, holds a photograph of herself at a protest Bhopal, India, Sunday, Feb. 25, She was born with birth defects after the Union Carbide idisaster in Bhopal India Disabled women organise for change collectively and individually

8 Disabled women organising collectively Rashida Bee and Champa Devi outside Union Carbide in the US on hunger strike in 2003

9 Disabled women and individual acts of Resistance Carrie and I saw this cool punk girl in a wheelchair disappearing down a escalator on the London underground. Smiling back up at us as she saw our disbelief and recognition. Then in the quiet of the evening Carrie practised and without any trouble, (overcoming initial fears with me holding on first) She became the latest,disabled, underground, wheelchair, escalator surfer. How cool is that. However we did eventually get told off by the station manager... London Underground 2006 / /

10 Key Issues : Violence Disabled women 3 times more likely to be victims than other women Not recognised as a crime Accessible information about rights is very limited Physical means of fleeing a violent situation, (such as accessible transportation) is often unavailable. Unlikely to being referred to a shelter because assumed that such agencies do not or are unable to cater for their needs.

11 Key Issues :Sterilisation ‘ Forced sterilisation’ is a procedure which results in sterilisation in the absence of the consent of the individual. The politics of eugenics (stop disabled women and men from reproducing) Sterilisation is a form of violence that violates the rights of disabled women and girls to – form a family, – decide on the number of children they wish to have, – gain access to information on family planning and reproduction, and retain their fertility on an equal basis with others

12 Action in Australia by disabled women To develop universal legislation which prohibits sterilisation of any child unless there is a serious threat to health or life; To address the cultural, social and economic factors which drive the sterilisation agenda; To commit resources to assist disabled women and girls and their families and carers to access appropriate reproductive health care; and, To create the social context in which all women and girls are valued and respected.

13 Key Issues : Motherhood and parenting

14 Discriminatory attitudes and prejudicial assumptions Coerced abortions Lack of reproductive health care Poorly managed pregnancy and birth Lack of financial support and equipment Removal of babies from disabled women

15 Women with Disabilities Australia Founded 1994 Winner of the National Violence Prevention Award 1999 Nominee, French Republic's Human Rights Prize 2003 Nominee, UN Millennium Peace Prize for Women 2000 “an opportunity to work together as women with disabilities to build confidence, self esteem and positive expectations about life's goals.”

16 Winner of the National Human Rights Award December 2001

17 Challenges and Successes Dealing with authorities Negotiating the local, the national and the global Using the new communication technologies Forming strategic alliances

18 Conclusions: Moving forward with disabled women at an international level We must both celebrate our achievements and condemn the abuses of our human rights. Society needs to recognise the harm done to disabled women, but also recognise our creativity and many talents. The global nature of these conferences, show that disabled women have much to learn from each other and much to offer in making the world a more democratic and caring place.

19 Thank you for listening ! 谢谢听 !


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