Mina Mojtahedi

I find that there are systemic issues that are reinforcing silos and barriers. How often do we see policies that list those whom are intended to benefit from the policies as: women and girls, persons with disabilities, children, older persons, etc… Are we unintentionally reinforcing the gender-lessness of persons with disabilities and other silos? An important element of inclusive policies is basing it on disaggregated data. How can we ensure that data is not just disaggregated by sex, age and disability but that we gain data on their intersections, i.e. on women, girls, men, boys, with and without disabilities, as well as non-binary gender identities? Public policy works in silos and bends poorly to addressing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. Granted, its not easy to design solutions that take into account intersections of various factors and identities. Thats where the gender equality and disability rights movements need to step out of their silos and work together and cohesively.

Both the gender equality and disability rights movements have historically overlooked the intersections of gender and disability, and, even though there are positive trends, they continue to do so to a large extent today. Stakeholders and actors advancing gender equality lack the capacity on disability issues and also often the knowledge to recognize the diversity among women and the unique forms of discrimination that are a result of intersections between gender and disability. Likewise those working to promote rights of persons with disabilities tend to assume that generally advancing rights of persons with disabilities benefits all persons with disabilities regardless of genders and identities. Both movements even use different language for practically the same thing, eg. transformative change to address harmful gender norms and stereotypes vs. raising awareness on disability to address stigma. Perhaps by recognizing commonalities between gender-responsive/transformative and disability-inclusive policies we might better be able to involve disability rights actors in gender equality policy discussions and vice versa.