Position paper: The Status of Women and Girls with Disability in Australia

In 1995, the United Nations in Beijing, China held the Fourth World Conference on Women where all attending nations agreed to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA). The BPFA was a landmark agreement. It sets strategic objectives and actions for the advancement of women and the achievement of gender equality in 12 critical areas of concern. The 12 critical areas of concern are:

  1. The persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women;
  2. Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to education and training;
  3. Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to health care and related services;
  4. Violence against women;
  5. The effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under foreign occupation;
  6. Inequality in economic structures and policies, in all forms of productive activities and in access to resources;
  7. Inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels;
  8. Insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women;
  9. Lack of respect for and inadequate promotion and protection of the human rights of women;
  10. Stereotyping of women and inequality in women’s access to and participation in all communication systems, especially in the media;
  11. Gender inequalities in the management of natural resources and in the safeguarding of the environment;
  12. Persistent discrimination against and violation of the rights of the girl child.

Over the past two decades, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has systemically reviewed progress in the implementation of the twelve critical areas of concern identified in the BPFA at its annual sessions and has adopted action-oriented recommendations in the form of agreed conclusions, to facilitate increased implementation at all levels.

2020 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary from BPFA’s inception and the sixty-fourth session of the CSW which will include an assessment of current challenges that affect the implementation of the Platform for Action and the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of women.

Historically, women and girls with disability have not been well represented in the work of the CSW, however, in recent years the Agreed Conclusions stemming from CSW sessions, have been more inclusive of women and girls with disability. This paper details the current status of those 12 critical areas of concern for women and girls with disability and provides action-oriented recommendations to increase implementation of these.

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