DRI’s Women’s Rights Initiative focuses on challenging the “double discrimination,” women with disabilities face—both because of their gender and disability. DRI documents and exposes abuses against this population, sensitizes government authorities and civil society organizations about the importance of addressing disability from a gender perspective, and works with women’s rights groups to encourage them to include a disability perspective in their agenda.
DRI’s recent work in this area includes:
Mexico— DRI helped establish a Women’s Committee formed by women with a psychosocial disability that belong to the Colectivo Chuhcan, Mexico’s first advocacy organization run by persons with psychosocial disabilities. DRI helps empower these activists to become spokespersons for women with psychosocial disabilities at the local and national level.
Guatemala— After documenting sexual abuse and trafficking of women and girls with disabilities in a Guatemalan psychiatric hospital, DRI filed a petition with before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The IACHR ordered Guatemala to take urgent measures to protect the women detained in this facility. DRI is currently working with the Guatemalan government to ensure that an end is brought to the sexual abuse and trafficking against women and girls.
Ukraine— Ukraine’s local office focuses on the rights of women and children who are institutionalized or at-risk of institutionalization. DRI has documented numerous abuses against women in Ukraine’s institutions, including: non-consensual chemical abortions; forced birth control and gynecological exams; and forced separation of mothers from their children. DRI’s local office in Ukraine also reaches out to and empowers women recovering from eating disorders—a population which is at high-risk for psychiatric institutionalization.