Enabling Equality and Economic Empowerment for all Women and Girls – A Thought Leadership Roundtable around Gender and Disability

For more information on the speakers, please see the flyer: Disability and Gender event during GIZ Gender week

Description of the event: 

  • One in five women globally live with disability, about 80% of them in the global south.
  • In Zambia, 24% of households have a disabled adult.
  • How many of these adults are cared for by a woman?

Guiding questions:

  • What are good examples regarding the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in the business or development sector?
  • How do our approaches and work consider the wider contexts of the intersection between disability and gender (e.g. caring responsibilities of women and girls for disabled family members)?
  • Can Disability Confidence really add value to GIZ’s Gender Strategy?
  • How can potentials of digitalization be used to promote the economic empowerment of women with disabilities?

During the GIZ Gender week (4.-8. March), we had the great pleasure to welcome two internationally renowned experts in the field of disability and employment in order to share their experiences in form of a Though Leadership Roundtable: Susan Scott-Parker, CEO of Business Disability International and Kate Nash, CEO of Purple Space. Both have several decades of experience advising multinational companies worldwide regarding the inclusion of persons with disabilities. Using the example of the economic situation of women and girls with disabilities, interlinkages between gender and disability were discussed.

Kate highlighted that a strong focus on the concept of intersectionality may not tell us enough about what needs to be done better to improve the economic situation of women and girls with disabilities. As a woman with a disability, Kate’s experiences of inequality are more often connected to her disability as compared to her gender. Therefore, she advocates for a removal of disability-specific barriers (e.g. inaccessible infrastructure, stigmatisation) in order to increase the economic situation of women and girls with disabilities. Kate also talked about the importance of context in shaping experiences, and highlighted the especially difficult economic situation of women and girls with disabilities in countries of the global South.

Susan urged us that our work on gender, disability and employment should also consider those women, who care for disabled family members, and are therefore unable to engage in wage employment. According to her, such a holistic approach is likely to increase the impact of our work. Susan also presented her “disability confidence” approach, which includes good practice regarding the economic inclusion of persons with disabilities and considers four principles: (1) Understand how disability affects people, products and services; (2) Remove barriers; (3) Make adjustments; (4) Don’t make assumptions about the potential of people based on a medical label.

Kate and Susan shared important ideas and approaches that are relevant for GIZ’s work on the intersection of gender and disability. How these could be applied, continues to be discussed. On April 11th (1-2.30pm), there will be a Brown Bag Lunch on the topic “Leave no one behind” – Women and girls with disabilities“. This event presents findings of an analysis of GIZ projects in partner countries on the intersection of gender and disability.

Contact Details

Name: Bernd Schramm, Anna Bohlender
Email: disability@giz.de
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