– Plan’s International report “Because I am a girl” reflects initial steps in respecting the rights of girls with disabilities

Published on: Nov 20, 2014

“Power struggles through history – from the early collective action for women’s votes to civil rights movements, from disability campaigns to trade union activism – are long and usually painful.” With  this opening statement of Plan’s International annual report 2014 ‘Pathways to power: creating sustainable change for adolescent girls’ you might look forward to an increased attention for the intensely marginalized position of girls with disabilities. In the foreword of this 200 pages report , Alice Albright (CEO of the Global Partnership for Education) says: “unsurprisingly, the report points out that power is held by those who have had opportunity. It is accessible to those who have been allowed to pursue education and to progress through lives free from stigmas of gender, poverty, ethnicity or disability.” The introduction to the report continues with drawing attention to intensified exclusion by stating “But girls are some of the most vulnerable members of society, discriminated against by both sex and age and often by other factors too, such as class or caste, disability or sexuality. Limited approaches to girls’ empowerment will not address many of the barriers to gender equality, which are structural rather than individual. They are not rooted in a girl’s lack of confidence or even skills and knowledge, but in the attitudes and institutions that deny her opportunities and undervalue her strengths and potential.” The fact that this explicit attention to barriers that stigmatize and exclude girls with disabilities is not sustained throughout the report , probably reflects that this attention for discrimination and exclusion of girls with disabilities is rather new in Plan’s policies. We therefore specially welcome the recommendation number 2 of this report, in which the global community is urged to: “increase accountability to girls and women by strengthening data collection methods and practices. This includes a commitment to:  Increase data quality and raise standards on data collection. Ensure that quantitative and qualitative data, disaggregated by sex, age, location, wealth quintile and disability, at a minimum, is used to capture nuanced and complex information, such as changes in attitudes of women and men and girls and boys, shifts in social norms, and the impact of women’s and girls’ participation in decision-making.”

By following these links you can read the report or its executive summery.

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