I spent a week at the United Nations in New York campaigning for my re-election to the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Members of the Committee are elected for four years, and can be re-elected once, so this is my final opportunity to participate in this most amazing process for advancing disability rights.
The election takes place in June at the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), where countries gather to share information on progress, or lack of it, towards implementing disability rights. Crucially gender hangs in the balance for the future CRPD Committee, which I believe is a consequence of the multiple discrimination women and girls with disabilities face from birth through education, employment, training and career development. From the 18 current members of the Committee, there are nine positions to be filled to replace those whose mandate finishes in December 2016. Mandates end for five out of the six women on the Committee (Maria Soledad, Silvia Quan, Ana Pelaez, Safak Pavey and myself). Of the 17 candidates running for election only three are women, which meansthe best possible gender balance for the future Committee is four out of 18 women members.
The Convention states (in article 34 paragraph 4) that there must be balanced gender representation on the Committee. Sadly, this is not going to be achieved.
Read about CBM’s work on gender equality here