Utilizing the CRPD and CEDAW to Improve the Access of Information for Women with disabilities

This paper covers issues relating to improving the access of information by woman with disability, and engaging stakeholders in Indonesia who are responsible for gender and disability issues.  Nowadays, the gender movement in Indonesia is growing so fast. People can see woman in many positions across all sectors. Not only in low income sector where woman usually contribute, but also in higher positions as decision makers. Even though Indonesia is the biggest Muslim society, it’s not a big deal to have a woman as leader.

Historically Indonesia has significant women leaders. There was Megawati Soekarno Putri as president of Republic of Indonesia (2002 to 2004), Sri Mulyani Indrawati as Head of National Development Planning Agency (2004-2005), Minister of Finance (2005-2010), and currently as Managing Director of World Bank Group, also Tri Rismaharini the Mayor of Surabaya City[1].

However, the fast growth in women’s empowerment is still not happening in all groups of women. Especially women with disabilities are still the most vulnerable group among women. They experience discrimination because of being a woman, but also the fact of their disability makes it more difficult. Furthermore, the economic level of woman with disability tends to make them weaker. Disability is still a huge restriction for getting a job and better income, and it becomes worse for women with disabilities. Lack of financial resources brings them to inadequate education and low access to information materials. Many of them do not really know what their rights as woman and as a person with disability are; also there is little or no chance to speak up in public.

Access of information is becoming very important for women with disabilities to exercise their rights. Many problems occur due to their limitation and being excluded from society that makes them unable to do self-advocating. Some of the problems usually faced by women with disabilities are mentioned below:

  1. Domestic and family violence.
    According to Human Rights Watch, 1 of 4 women in the world experience domestic violence in their life. That number becomes doubled for woman with disability. Patriarchy systems lead women to lower positions in finance and social conditions. It becomes worse for most women with disabilities due to their physical, mental, or intellectual limitation. Moreover, their ignorance of information also contributes to make them more vulnerable. When they get abused, there is no such information that tells them about their rights and mechanisms to help them.
  2. Sexual Assault
    There are many cases regarding sexual assault experienced by women with disabilities, because they are woman and have physical, mental, or intellectual disabilities. They are vulnerable to being abused. For instance, a deaf and dumb woman being raped can’t scream to ask for help. Moreover, the lack of information and support also makes them feel afraid to report the case. They can’t access any support system and security aid to assist them prosecuting the perpetrator.
  3. Education
    Mostly, family does not send their children with disability to school due to lack of information. They tend to have no idea how a person with disability can join a regular school, or no information about where the special schools are. Also, they need some assistance to advocate with the nearest school if there is some rejection of the child due to the disability.
  4. Employment
    Women need proper employment for being less vulnerable. They can be more independent when there is self-income. However, it can be difficult for them because there is not enough information and network to get some proper job. Also, the fact of being woman takes them to some jobs that usually belong to lower income employment, so there should be affirmative action to provide information for women with disabilities (WWD), and better coordination among stake holders to make it efficient and accessible.

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