Women with Disabilities

Women with Disabilities
Ms. Le Thi Het (right) received a wheelchair from a USAID-funded project in Danang, Vietnam which enables her to get around.
Richard Nyberg, USAID

Women with disabilities comprise 10% of all women worldwide.

Discrimination against people with disabilities hinders economic development, limits democracy, burdens families and erodes societies. Approximately 300 million women and girls around the world with an intellectual, mental, sensory and/or physical disability are likely to face double discrimination based upon gender and their disability. Inadvertent barriers and discriminatory practices often limit their participation in development programs. 

USAID encourages participation by women with disabilities in all programming.

For women with physical disabilities, USAID endeavors to hold trainings and public events at venues that have ramps and disability-accessible bathrooms, versus venues on a second floor only reachable by stairs. Separate programs that specifically target women with disabilities are at times indicated but USAID’s priority is to mainstream women with disabilities into all general programs and activities. 

Integrating women with disabilities into general programming does not always require additional funds. Most modifications to ensure inclusion can be implemented without additional costs. 

For example, USAID’s programs assisted Tran Hoang Yen, a disabled female entrepreneur who, after attending USAID-sponsored leadership training courses in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, successfully opened a sewing shop which employs many disadvantaged young people, more than half of whom are women with disabilities. [Learn more.]

USAID avoids discrimination against people with disabilities in its programs, and stimulates an engagement of host country counterparts, governments, implementing organizations and other donors in promoting a climate of nondiscrimination against and equal opportunity for people with disabilities. 

The Agency is committed to including men, women and children who have disabilities and those who advocate and offer services on behalf of people with disabilities.

This commitment extends from the design and implementation of USAID programming to advocacy for and outreach to men, women, and children with disabilities. USAID requires that all new construction or renovation of structures, facilities or buildings is accessible per the provisions of AAPD 05-07, "Supporting USAID's Standards for Accessibility for the Disabled in Contracts, Grants, and Cooperative Agreements."

The best experts on how to integrate women with disabilities into USAID development programs are the women themselves. USAID is committed to bringing them more fully into the development dialogue.

Learn more about women with disabilities in development.

Last updated: May 31, 2012

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