Gender and disability

Approximately 300 million of the world's women and girls have an intellectual, mental, sensory or physical disability that leads to double discrimination and exclusion based on their gender and disability.

A young girl seated at a desk and assisted to use a typing machineThe World Report on Disability estimated that female prevalence of disability is as great as 60 percent higher than that for males worldwide. Women are more likely to become disabled throughout the course of their lives and are more likely to be sicker, poorer and more isolated than men with disabilities, or women without disabilities.

In the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Strategic Vision for Gender Equality, launch 7 March 2018, they mention that “A disproportionate number of girls and women living in poverty experience additional discrimination because of their disability, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexuality, location or other characteristic, which further limits their prospects and opportunities. Over 200 million women with disabilities remain below the poverty line, often because they are considered too difficult or costly to reach”.  

The challenges that they face include significantly less access to education, healthcare and employment than men with disabilities or women without disabilities. Women and girls with deafblindness - or with any form of disability - are at greater risk of being abused. They are also under-represented in the political and decision-making processes.

A young girl and woman seated on a rug on the floor, holding hands up towards eachotherSense International staff are trained to support women and girls with deafblindness, ensuring they are treated equally. We  review all our programmes on an ongoing basis to ensure that gender equality is an integral part of the design, delivery and evaluation of our projects. 

In all our countries we work to ensure that girls right to health and education is realised and we support young women to learn vocational skills for economic empowerment and independent living.  

First published: Thursday 10 July 2014
Last updated: Monday 7 September 2020