Neglected and Forgotten: Women with disabilities during COVID crisis in India

Neglected and Forgotten: Women with disabilities during COVID crisis in India

On the right hand top: Rising Flame and Sightsavers logos. On the left top in blue lettering is the title of the report - Neglected and Forgotten: Women with disabilities during the COVID crisis in India. On the remaining space on the page are six figures. Below the text is a woman dressed in a yellow saree in a wheelchair. Walking away from her - with their backs to her - are five people. One is dressed in white and a blue overcoat; one is dressed in a salwar with a small bag; another two in pants and shirt and one person in a lungi. There are all wearing face masks and are at a distance from each other.


We initiated a research study in collaboration with Sightsavers to respond to the urgent needs of women with disabilities in India during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this research was to capture and amplify voices and narratives of women with disabilities  and to make strong recommendations to ensure inclusion of women with disabilities in social, legal, policy and systemic responses.

We conducted online and telephonic research consultations in May 2020,  within the barriers faced or accommodations needed by participants, including access to internet, the need for sign language interpretation and the establishment of a safe space. A total of 82 women with disabilities and 12 experts across 19 states and nine self-identified disability groups participated in the research.

Broadly, the study is divided into access, food and essentials, social protection, health, hygiene and sanitation, education, employment and livelihood, domestic violence and emotional well-being. The study explores the ongoing barriers experienced by women across disabilities and makes recommendations to build back a better and more inclusive world.

We launched this report on July 14, 2020. The launch was attended by a diverse range of individuals from disability community, senior leadership of UN women, members of civil society organisations, private foundations, philanthropic organisations, women’s rights organisations, disability rights organisations and media. The launch event can be viewed at YouTube. The launch had 980 participants from more than 6 countries across platforms such as Facebook, Youtube and attendees within Zoom.

You could read more about the research and the launch on our website. Download the full report here. DocPDF.

The report received a widespread coverage in the media such as in Quint, Hindustan Times Part 1, Hindustan Times Part 2Radio Udaan, Behan Box, Times of India and more.