Gender Equality and Disability (GED) Working Group

Gender Equality and Disability (GED) Working Group

Before the stand alone working group on disability was formed, we were the national coordinators of the GED and working on advancing the disability inclusion agenda. In our capacity as national co-coordinators, we participated in and led some policy discussions.

Inaugural event: ‘Gender Equality and Disability’ Working Group  

On 2 February 2023, the ‘Gender Equality and Disability’ (GED) Working Group had an inaugural virtual event with the participation of over 484 civil society actors from more than 26 countries around the world.

The thematic areas for the GED working group are: Education, Health, Economic Empowerment, Safety and Security, Disability, Environment, Social/Cultural, Men and Boys for Gender Equality. The working group committed to identifying creative and pragmatic ways to nurture inclusion, create pathways, shed stereotypes and adopt fresh perspectives.

Our Founder and Executive Director Nidhi Goyal participated and presented the structure of the working group as the national Co-Coordinator of the GED Working Group. Along with her, the C20 Sherpa Vijay Nambiar and the national Coordinator Dr. Bhavani Rao, who is the UNESCO Chair on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment as well as the Dean of Schools of Social & Behavioral Sciences (Amritapuri & Coimbatore) and the Director at Ammachi labs, Amritapuri. Meg Jones, the international coordinator for the GED Working Group also participated at the event.

Vijay Nambiar, the C20 Sherpa, said at the event: “Gender equality is a basic human right, and essential for peace[…] Equally related is addressing ableism, or the systematic exclusion of people with physical or mental disabilities.” Additionally, the National Coordinator Dr. Bhavani Rao also highlighted specific ways societal & cultural norms play out in the lives of women with disabilities.

The inaugural meeting ended with a call to civil society members to join the GED Working Group and ensuring that this process truly becomes people-centric and representative by submitting their inputs and expertise in various areas.

Sign language interpretation support was provided by Rising Flame for the event.

Online webinar: Women’s Safety and Engaging Men & Boys for Gender Equality 

Date: February 7, 2023
Organisers: GED working group
Theme: Women’s safety and engaging men and boys

An online webinar under GED working group’s subtheme: ‘Women’s safety’ and ‘Engaging men and boys for gender equality’ was organised on February 7, 2023. It saw the participation of over 90 international participants from CSOs working in these areas who attended and represented different countries including Brazil, India, Italy, and the USA. The event was the first step in formulating policies to present to the heads of state of the world’s leading economies when the G20 summit takes place in New Delhi this September. Rising Flame participated by sharing recommendations with relevance to women with disabilities, their experiences of violence and provided policy and budgetary recommendations to ensure their access to justice remains barrier free. Other civil society organisations shared recommendations with respect to urban spaces, police stations etc for women and girls.

In-Person Policy Dialogue: Women’s Safety & Gender Inequality

Date: February 13-14, 2023
Organisers: GED working group in coolaboration with Kashmir University
Theme: Women’s safety 

The Gender Equality and Disability working group held an In-Person Policy Dialogue on Women’s Safety & Gender Inequality on February 13-14 at University of Kashmir. This event hosted dialogues and showcased best practices from multiple contexts – to see how we can move towards our goal of gender equality. Many of the participating organisations including Rising Flame shared their experiences and identified the gaps in policy and implementation. Rising Flame shared necessary recommendations to include women with disabilities in our work towards gender equality – especially with regards to their safety, their inclusion in broader work around gender based violence and ensuring their access to justice. Our founder and ED Nidhi Goyal was present at the event where she moderated a panel on Day 1 to understand civil society experiences around safety, legal reforms, responses from organisations and ways forward.

Online webinar: ‘Inclusive Education with Skill Development: Priorities and Policies’  

Date: February 23, 2023
Organisers: GED working group
Theme: Education

On 23 February 2023, a consultation was organised under Civil20 (C20) India by the Gender Equality and Disability (GED) Working Group on ‘Inclusive Education with Skill Development: Priorities and Policies’ that aimed to increase civil society participation in enhancing disability inclusion in the Civil20. The session had participation from more than 80 Civil Society Organisations with their representatives from around the world.

Our Founder and Executive Director Nidhi Goyal participated in the meeting. She introduced the purpose, process, workflow and themes of the GED Working Group at the beginning of the session, before other participants took the screen.

Speakers spoke about their work in the area of education, as well as insights on community specific projects and initiatives to increase women and girl’s involvement in education, especially STEM-related subjects. Some speakers also brought in the intersection of gender and disability in education, and the importance of focusing on education initiatives around girls with disabilities.

Rising Flame provided sign language interpretation for the webinar and enabled the participation of some deaf women.

Online webinar: Virtual Policy Consultation on Disability

Date: March 10, 2023
Organisers: GED working group
Theme: Disability

On March 10 2023, the Gender Equality and Disability (GED) Working Group organised a virtual policy consultation on disability, which had a 100 participants from 20 countries across the world — including Indonesia, the UK, Australia, India, Turkey, Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, Sri Lanka, Germany, and the US.

We led the conceptualisation and execution of this event, to support the work of Disability Inclusion and bring strong policy recommendations to the G20 leaders.

Our Founder and Executive Director Nidhi Goyal participated by setting the stage for the consultation process. This was followed by a Keynote Address given by Risnawati Utami, who is the founder of Ohana, a disability rights organisation in Indonesia and the sous sherpa of Indonesia presidency. She said, “All countries must adopt a human rights based approach in terms of implementing inclusive international cooperation amongst G20 countries. The work of the GED working group is to effectively develop a strategy to influence the G20 member states within the G20 to ensure the dignity and quality of women and girls with disabilities so they can live inclusive lives within their society.”

Following the opening statements, the consultation moved into three breakout rooms: Education, Skill Development and Health; Employment and Social Security; and Discrimination, Violence & Abuse, and Environment, Disaster and Disability. Each break out room had expert speakers and participants from disability rights organisations who addressed the situation and shared important recommendations framing the conversation for the next hour.

Our founder and Executive Director and Co leads programmes facilitated conversation in 2 different break out rooms and presented summaries of discussions and recommendations in the closing plenary.