News and stories News and blogs Paving a way for disabled women and girls On International Women's Day 2019 we're calling for disabled women and girls to have equal access to wheelchairs and services. At Motivation our programme design and activities are working specifically to address gender as a cross-cutting issue. Why is this so important? It’s well documented that women and girls often face the greatest development challenges. Because of their gender, they experience multiple forms of discrimination to a greater extent – on average – than male counterparts. They’re more likely to suffer from greater levels of poverty, they have fewer opportunities to participate in decision-making, and they find it harder to access employment. A lack of access to services further contributes to their marginalisation. In addition to these general development challenges, research from the World Health Organization shows that disability is more common among women than men. Women with disabilities tend to have poorer health outcomes, lower education achievements, less economic participation and higher rates of poverty than women without disabilities. Women and girls with disabilities see their human rights more commonly denied and violated than others. They are more exposed to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment and more susceptible to violence and abuse than men and boys with disabilities, or women and men without disabilities. For Motivation, we experience this gender imbalance first hand; nearly twice as many men and boys access our services than women and girls. While we know that men are more likely to experience a spinal cord injury, the gender disparity is still stark. We want to change this. We want to access more women and girls with our outreach and referral networks. And when we find them, we want to support women and girls to use their own power and agency to tackle the issues they face. What are we doing already? Our Referral Network Training includes a gender rights element. This encourages Community Based Rehabilitation workers to be aware of gender as they identify and refer disabled people to our wheelchair services. We also hear from wheelchair users that access to the right wheelchair enables girls - like Jashmine - to go to school, empowering them to have greater choice at an early stage. Our Parent/Carer Trainers bring men on board with caring for their disabled children, which can ease the burden of care on mothers, and encourages men and boys to take equal roles. And what’s next? Our UK programmes team are working with a gender specialist over the past few months to strengthen the way we address gender throughout our projects. We’re looking at how Motivation can broaden and deepen inclusion and empowerment of women and girls in our programmes, taking into account barriers they face. We’re want to ensure that women and girls can better benefit from the outcomes and impact of our work despite the challenges they face. We know this is essential to achieving a world in which ALL disabled people are included and fully participate in all aspects of life. Support our work We empower girls like Hope to learn life-changing practical skills so they can become independent women. Make a donation today.