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Empowering Women

A visually impaired woman smiling into the camera in Sudan

Around 1 in 5 women has a disability.

Disabled women are doubly discriminated against for both their gender and their disability, and are often seen as a burden by their families and communities.

Women with a disability often face a heightened risk of domestic and sexual violence.

Unfortunately, too many existing programmes meant to prevent gender-based violence do not take into account the unique dangers and challenges faced by women with disabilities.

Without specific attention and solutions, disabled women have been left behind and at risk.

Development agencies, power holders and service providers need to build into their programmes the right protection for disabled women. It will require sustained global focus, momentum and action. But if we are serious about fulfilling the aspiration to ‘leave no one behind’ then it has to be done. 

Empowering Activists

Over the last 30 years we have supported women with disabilities to either set up their own activist organisations or to create dedicated women’s departments in existing groups. We have seen women with disabilities become stronger, more empowered and outspoken.

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Women activists smiling to camera, Sudan

Our work in action.

Read how we have been partnering with disabled women in Sudan to support their activism.

Activists in action

Elizabeth, Uganda

Elizabeth, Uganda

Ignored by her family, Elizabeth was bullied and beaten at school and abused by her neighbours for her disability. Her husband later abandoned her and she was the victim of an attempted kidnapping plot to trade her body parts. Read how she turned her life around through her activism and resilience.

Kim Doe, Cambodia

Kim Doe, Cambodia

Kim Doe spent years secluded in her house, ashamed to leave because of her disability. A visit from local activists, brought her out of her home and set on her a path to freedom.

Pushpa Rani, disability activist, Bangladesh

Pushpa, Disability Activist, Bangladesh.

"I am 50 years old but I have had to spend my life crawling around like a child. Can you imagine?
ADD International brought a change in me. I want to participate in community and societal matters. I want a voice."

Close up of the faces of a line of women in Uganda

Lessons from our work.

ADD International has both participated in, and led, initiatives to highlight the discrimination disabled women and girls face from both their gender and disability. In this report we have collected everything we know about the risks disabled women face and how to address them.

Our gender research

Our Gender Approach

Our Gender Approach

Promoting gender equality is a core priority of ADD’s work. In line with our rights based approach, we recognise that everyone is equal in individual value and rights and that specific actions are needed to ensure gender equity and equality of opportunity. We work with organisations which share this approach, and we support our partner DPOs to recognise and address barriers to gender equity in their work.

Gender based violence in Tanzania

Gender based violence in Tanzania

Women with diverse disabilities researched and collected a sample of thirty short life stories from other women and girls with disabilities, and analysed these stories to explore their core themes in relation to their own lived experience.

Let's build movements together.

Millions of disabled people in Africa and Asia are still condemned to a life of poverty and exclusion. Right now, organisations of disability activists are working to fight discrimination and ensure every disabled person gets a fighting chance at living their best life. They urgently need your support.