On the 20th of December 2019, Youth Ki Awaaz, a popular crowdsourced online platform, held its Summit in Delhi’s Ambedkar International Centre. As part of the Summit, our founder and executive director Nidhi Goyal, spoke on a panel – “Addressing Young India’s Challenges around Gender and Health presented by UNFPA and UNV India. The other speakers on the panel included Jasmine George from Hidden Pockets, M Suman – a trans rights advocate from Bangalore, and Dr Zoya Rizvi from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The panel was moderated by journalist and #MeToo activist Rituparna Chatterjee.
The discussion began with Nidhi speaking of the issues of privacy, consent and access to healthcare for women with disabilities, and how these areas become murkier when the gender and disability variables intersect. Several important factors that contribute to this were brought up, including a lack of sensitivity amongst medical practitioners themselves, and the prevalent idea the persons with disability can’t be allowed agency over their own bodies, which results from deeply embedded prejudices and stigma in people’s minds.
The other panellists also brought to the fore other very complex issues – access to abortions, healthcare for trans persons, and the gaps within the public healthcare system in India that need to be worked upon.