NEWS: Women with Disabilities in Pakistan Hold Empowerment Seminar

Posted on 20 August 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, News, South Asian Region, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Thank you to Ghulam Nabi Nizamani for circulating the following report.

Seminar on empowerment of women with disabilities, Karachi – Pakistan
Held on 2nd August 2008.

A joint seminar organized by Social Welfare Department Government of Sindh and Association of Physically Handicapped Adults (APHA) member organization of Sindh Disability Forum (SDF) and Pakistan Disabled Peoples’ Organization (PDPO) DPI Pakistan.

Centuries ago, as you all know, in most societies of the world women occupied a secondary position to their male counterparts. It was a common feature that women got very little opportunity to voice their opinion even in matters, which concerned their own lives. They were considered to have no opinions of their own but merely adhere to the decisions made first by their fathers, then their husbands and at a later stage of their lives by their sons. But society has progressed from the discriminating attitude towards women. This is not to say that even today women stand equal with men. Discrimination against women persists even till date, the only change being that in some situations take place at a more subtle level.

Women’s movements have been instrumental in bringing about this change. These movements attempt to empower and equip women to fight for equality and stand equal with men.

But this is not the case when we turn our attention to women with disabilities. The mainstream women’s movements have remained completely oblivious to the needs of this group. The disability movements too have not paid much attention to the particular needs of disabled women. Hence these women remain at the periphery of all rights movements. Being a neglected segment they lack in self-esteem and self-confidence. They are conceived as not having part to play in society they are role-less people. Thus arises the imperative need to develop the image they have of themselves. Empowerment of disabled women therefore becomes the need of the hour.

1. Ms. Shagufta Shehzadi Chairperson Special Education Department, University of Karachi

2. Ms. Nasreen Aslam Shah Chairperson Women Study Centre University of Karachi

3. Ms. Musarrat Jabeen Women Development Department,Govt. of Sindh

4. Keynote Presentation By M. Zeeshan Taqi Finance Secretary A.P.H.A

5. Mr. S.M Nishat General Secretary A.P.H.A

6. Ms. Shama Dosa Active Social Worker

7. Mr. Shariful Muzaffar President A.P.H.A

8. Mrs. Riaz Fatima.Social Welfare Training Institute

9. Ms. Farzana WWD member of APHA

10. Ghulam Nabi Nizamani DPI Pakistan/Asia Pacific

Speakers highlighted issues related to women with disabilities specially WWDs based in rural areas. They discussed about:

1. Position in the family,

2. Access to education and health care facilities,

3. Opportunities to find employment,

4. Knowledge regarding existing legislation and facilities for disabled people and Women with disabilities.

5. Fulfilling the role generally ascribed to women including mainstreaming of WWDs.

6. Reproductive health of Women with Disabilities.

7. Violence against Women with Disabilities.

Delegates of the seminar recommended that:

  • Self-help groups of disabled women need to be organized. These women are to be made aware of the rights through training in self-advocacy.
  • Media campaign for spreading awareness regarding the rights of the disabled in general and disable women in particular.
  • Creation of Awareness on the Rights of Women with Disabilities according to Article 6 of UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities (CRPD).
  • Government to frame policies specifically catering to the interest of women with disabilities.
  • Training for women with disabilities needs to be geared towards developing a positive self-concept and self-image. They are to be empowered to recognize that they too are contributing and responsible members of society.
  • To fill the gape between WWDs of Urban and Rural area.
  • Job quota for WWDs be raised by Government from 2% to 15% because for women without disabilities have 10% quota in Government’s Jobs

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