Accessibility andWomen with Disabilities Anjlee Agarwal Executive Director & Access Consultant Member, Women with Disability India Network www.samarthyam.org
Background It has been recognized that women with disabilities may be particularly at risk due to stigmas associated with both disability and gender, and are more likely to suffer from discrimination than women or men without disabilities.
Background In India, women with disabilities are confronted with numerous challenges. In the absence of well coordinated government policies aimed at integrating disabled persons in mainstream activities, women with disabilities live under extremely difficult conditions, facing discrimination and barriers throughout their life. Discrimination deprives women with disabilities of fundamental rights and equality of opportunity.
Background The adoption of the UNCRPD has been a path breaking initiative through which we can create an environment of equality and justice. Though the CRPD has a twin track approach where women’s issues are specifically defined, many women activists have felt the need to strengthen the Convention provisions. One method is working through other Conventions such as CEDAW and CRC. As the CEDAW State review is coming up, it was felt that women with disabilities should make their voices heard and their presence felt in this process.
Intersecting CEDAW and CRPD Compare the provisions of CEDAW and CRPD and To intersect the above said provisions in UNCRPD and CEDAW with an objective to incorporate constructive recommendations in the shadow report of CEDAW
UNCRPD CEDAWArticle 9: Accessibility The countries will eliminate No mention barriers that people with disabilities face in buildings, the outdoors, transport, information, communication and services, in both cities and the countryside. This way people with disabilities can live independently and fully live their lives.
Article 9 Accessibility Infra Information All private entitiesStructure & technology & urban / that offer facilities public and services to the communication rural public must be buildings areas accessible Indoor, transport, Access to outdoor facilities services / facilities, emergency services Universal Design
UNCRPD CEDAWArticle 6: Article 3:WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES EqualityStates Parties recognize that women and girls with Women are disabilities are subject to multiple fundamentally equal with discrimination, and in this regard men in all spheres of life. shall take measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by them of Countries must take all human rights and fundamental measures to uphold freedoms. womens equality in the shall take all appropriate measures to ensure the full development, political, social, economic, advancement and empowerment of and cultural fields. women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the present Convention.
Some facts Women with disabilities cannot access education, health, employment / livelihood opportunities, socialization, tourism, etc. in absence of accessible and safe infrastructure- built, transit and external environment. Lack of accessible public amenities and poor maintenance of public spaces pose another threat to women with disabilities.
Inaccessible Infrastructure In most cities, the pavements are unusable for a variety of reasons – from being dug up and encroached upon to being poorly maintained. In addition, the pavements are often used as men’s urinals, which makes access to these sidewalks extremely uncomfortable for women. The lack of good lighting in many areas is a further hindrance to their mobility and safety. Jagori, Understanding Women’s Safety Towards a Gender Inclusive City 2009-10
Accessible public toilets The lack of safe and clean public toilets poses a serious safety and public health hazard. In addition, toilets in all the cities are poorly designed. For example, the entrance to the women’s toilet is often at the same place as the entrance to the men’s toilet and this adds to its inaccessibility for women. In slums and rural areas, the problem is even more severe as there are no private toilets. The lack of or the very poor state of the public toilets leaves them no option but to use open fields, exposing them to the danger of sexual assault. Research Study, Accessibility Audit and Inclusion, Samarthyam, 2010
New Delhi Out of 3192 urinals in Delhi, only 132 are for women Shahana Sheikh, Public Toilets in Delhi, 2008, Centre for Civil Society In the colleges/university campus, women students with disabilities are not able to equally access libraries or laboratories, even toilets due to the fear of sexual harassment or assault. ‘Bus stops are not safe; the bus nearly touches the footpath and goes and because of this I got hurt.The bus driver did not even have the decency to stop.’ Women with visual impairment, DU, FGD Jagori, 2009-10
UNCRPD CEDAWArt 16: Freedom from Articles 2, 5, 11, 12 and 16: exploitation, violence and abuse States Parties shall take all • Violence against women of appropriate measures to promote the Convention require the the physical, cognitive and States parties to act to psychological recovery, rehabilitation protect women against and social reintegration of persons violence of any kind occurring with disabilities who become victims within the family, at the work of any form of exploitation, violence place or in any other area of or abuse, including through the social life provision of protection services. Such recovery and reintegration General Recommendation No. shall take place in an environment 12 (eighth session, 1989) that fosters the health, welfare, self-respect, dignity and autonomy of the person and takes into account gender- and age-specific needs.
Need for accessible services andfacilities Women with Disability experience more abuse than non-disabled women. Non-disabled abusers may use a woman’s impairment as part of the abuse, increasing both the abuser’s power and control and the woman’s vulnerability and isolation. Are the places where a woman with disability can go/live accessible?
Inaccessible Environment-lead to abuse and harassment Women with disabilities find it hard to trust people in public and are often wary when strangers offer help. There are instances when they get into ‘uncomfortable situations’ where strangers, on the pretext of helping them, try to touch them in offensive ways.
Abuse due to unfriendly assistivedevice and environmentBadly design assistive devices lead to discrimination and abuse:Court case: Anjlee Agarwal Vs Air India
Access to Information Women with Disabilities face higher risk of HIV/AIDs because of lack of education The implications of this in terms of HIV is that women with disabilities - particularly those with speech, hearing and intellectual impairments - are more vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse than men with disabilities or non-disabled women The Exclusion Of People With Disabilities From HIV Programmes In India, PMO DFID, 2007
UNCRPD CEDAWArticle 20 Personal MobilityThe countries will make sure that people No mention with disabilities can move around with the greatest possible independence, including: a. Assisting people to move around in the way they choose and at a cost that they can afford; b. Assisting people with disabilities to access mobility aids and technology, including making sure they do not cost a lot; c. Providing training in mobility skills for people with disabilities and staff working with them; d. Encouraging those that produce mobility aids and technology to take into account all aspects of movement
One size fits all?• ADIP scheme by MSJE do nothave dimension, standards andcustomized options for thewomen with disabilities.• There are only two types-children and adult• Why women with disabilityshould use an assistive devicemade for MALES!Anthropometric study on Mobility Aid Users: Indian Context, Samarthyam & DFID, 2012
UNCRPD CEDAWArticle 28Adequate standard of living and social Social Security protection under Economic States Parties recognize the Rights right of persons with disabilities to social protection and to the enjoyment of that right without discrimination on the basis of disability, and shall take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realization of this right
UNCRPD CEDAWArticle 30 Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure and No mention Sport The countries recognise the right of people with disabilities to take part in cultural life.
Accessibility is a cross cutting issue Full participationIndependence EqualityOpening doors- Equal opportunitieschoices Self respect Access to information, services, facilitiesSafety DignitySocial Security Empowerment
RecommendationsCEDAW- Amend and Add from CRPD: Article 9- Accessibility Article 20- Personal Mobility Article 28- Adequate standard of living and social protection Article 30 - Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure and Sports A women friendly world is a world Friendly for ALL
References:Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation CentreWomen with Disability India NetworkDraft Report for Justice Verma Commission, 2013