Leave No Woman with Disability Behind

Since 2018 GCAP works with women with disabilities in the Leave No Woman Behind project. Based on this cooperation the following declaration was prepared:

In the Beijing Declaration, now 25 years old, governments committed to “Take all necessary measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and the girl child and remove all obstacles to gender equality and the advancement and empowerment of women.” This includes women with disabilities. Five years ago governments pledged to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, Sutainable Development Goal 5.

It is time to make these goals a reality and to ensure that women with disabilities are included. We must start by taking stock of progress so far. GCAP has done this and finds the world is failing us. That is why we are calling on national governments, UN agencies, multilateral agencies, regional entities and civil society to take all necessary measures to address the issues of all girls and women facing multiple and intersectional discrimination.

There are 600 million women and girls with disabilities globally. They experience discrimination every day. The intersectionality of disabilities with socially discriminated communities such as Indigenous, religious and political minorities, discrimination based on work and descent, racially discriminated communities, sexual minorities etc. multiplies the experiences of discrimination faced by intersectional disable communities. They are routinely deprived of their legal capacity; they are denied their sexual and reproductive rights and health, and are often subject to forced sterilisation and coerced abortion. Women and girls with disabilities face violence, stigmatisation, exclusion from education, from health and care, from social protection and from work opportunities. In addition to the complexities in circumstances of disasters, conflicts, riots, communal violence, war, displacement and migration exemplifies further discrimination and inequality. Their voices are rarely heard in political, development and peace building processes.

The chronic poverty, stigma, lack of opportunities and denial of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights experienced by women and girls with disabilities and its intersectionalities are embedded in cultural, legal and institutional barriers. They make women and girls with disabilities victims of multiple and intersectional discrimination. Lack of accurate data on the lives of women and girls with disabilities makes it difficult to formulate the inclusive policies needed to address these issues and compound their marginalization. They are effectively made invisible.

The Charter of Demands from GCAP’s Leave No Woman Behind programme is part of the Faces of Inequality campaign, where women with disabilities speak for themselves at local and national level in Ghana, Kenya and Mali, was presented at the African Regional Forum for Sustainable Development 24 to 27 February 2020 in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. It has been submitted to the Commission on the Status of Women of the United Nations. The Charter of Demands include:

  • Social protection floors reach all women and girls with disabilities and are designed from a rights perspective.
  • Women and girls with disabilities and their organisations to be meaningfully involved in developing and implementing policies on gender equality, women’s rights and environmental sustainability.
  • All measurement, indicators and targets to address issues of women and girls with disabilities, including its overlaps with other markers of identity, including age, location and social identity
  • Women and girls with disabilities and others excluded by virtue of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and location to have meaningful representation in various political processes of governments, UN and multilateral agencies to further their empowerment and end gender inequality and violence.
  • Governments to redouble their efforts to uphold the commitments set out in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), including the optional protocol and general comment 3 on women and girls with disabilities.


Social Media Action: Please join us on International Women’s Day and share your photo demanding equality by showing the = sign with your arms (see photos above) and tell us your demand for equality on social media! So put your arms out front and STRIKE THE #EachforEqual POSE to motivate others and to make International Women’s Day YOUR day.

Hashtags: #EachforEqual #LeaveNoWomanBehind #FacesofInequality

GCAP Social media:

Facebook: @GlobalCalltoActionAgainstPoverty

Twitter: @whiteband

Contact: Ingo Ritz, Director, ingo.ritz@gcap.global , +32498412008