Islamabad, 18 August 2023 (TDI): The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women, along with the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD), took a significant step toward inclusivity and empowerment.

They organized a Policy Dialogue focused on innovative solutions for stigma, discrimination, and violence faced by women with disabilities.

This event unfolded against the backdrop of Pakistan’s commitment to fostering a society that respects individual rights, regardless of their abilities.

The event, which was conducted virtually, centred around a comprehensive program titled ‘Addressing Stigma, Discrimination, and Violence against Women with Disabilities (ASDWD)’, implemented between 2022 and 2023.

The goal was to dismantle barriers faced by women and girls with disabilities by engendering evidence-based interventions that transform attitudes and behaviours.

This program was rolled out not only in Pakistan but also in other developing nations like Samoa, Palestine, and Moldova.

The foundation of the project was built upon two core pillars; the creation of the Women with Disability Stigma Inventory (WDSI) and the subsequent implementation of behaviour change interventions.

The WDSI revealed a disheartening reality where women with disabilities encounter multifaceted challenges.

Shockingly, only 24% of surveyed women were aware of their human rights. Besides, more than half faced exclusion or denial of education, skills training, and employment opportunities.

Highlighting the profound impact of the project, a high-level policy dialogue was hosted, engaging both the government and private sectors.

The dialogue delved into crucial themes, including policy streamlining, livelihood guidelines, access to justice, self-awareness, and disability inclusion.

Participants highlighted the significance of governmental support. They emphasized the need for disability compliance and improved information access.

Additionally, capacity building, expert advisory services, and effective planning assistance for women with disabilities were discussed.

The Policy Dialogue proposed a groundbreaking solution – a specialized Job Centre equipped with advanced technologies. It aimed at connecting women with disabilities to job opportunities and supporting their journey to financial independence.

Encouraging compliance through incentives like tax rebates and digital databases was highlighted as a potent approach.

This collaborative endeavour highlighted the uphill battle that women with disabilities face daily. They also present a roadmap for transformative change.

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By adopting comprehensive guidelines and fostering private-sector engagement, Pakistan aims to realize an all-encompassing society. This society will uphold the rights and potential of every woman through the establishment of job centres.

This commitment to equality, dignity, and opportunity signifies a promising step forward in building a brighter future for women with disabilities.