Women with disabilities face multiple discrimination and have lived experiences distinct from those of non-disabled women and of other persons with disability. However, such experiences have remained largely invisible in law and policy making. It is only recently with the coming into force of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that the specific concerns of women with disabilities have been addressed. To combat double discrimination faced by women and children with disabilities, the CRPD has adopted a twin track approach, where a dedicated provision has been provided for the vulnerable group, and at the same time, their concerns have been addressed in several other provisions of the Convention.
This paper looks at the specific concerns of women with disabilities, in the context of the Indian society, and examines how a new domestic legislation on the rights of persons with disabilities should address these concerns. In line with the approach adopted in the CRPD, this paper suggests the use of the twin track approach and examines how this approach can be materialized in the new law. It provides a general dedicated provision on women with disabilities to be incorporated in the legislation, and examines all other areas of the law where gender concerns need to be specifically addressed.
The aim of the paper is to examine how gender concerns should be addressed in a law on disability, and thus the paper has not dealt with how disability issues should be addressed in legislations on gender. Thus, although a few legislations on gender issues have been mentioned, a detailed examination of those laws has not been done from the perspective of inducting provisions on disability in those statutes. The paper basically attempts to do twin tracking for women with disabilities in a law on persons with disability which is made in the post CRPD era.
Most legislations on disability, including the Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 in India, do not contain any provision specifically addressing the concerns of women with disabilities. The CRPD engages with the issue of multiple discrimination by adopting the twin track approach. It incorporates a dedicated article on women with disabilities and simultaneously, gender concerns have been addressed in certain other articles of the CRPD on issues of special concern to disabled women.
Article 6 of the CRPD provides that states parties must recognize that women and girls with disabilities face multiple discrimination and must take all appropriate measures to ensure their full development, advancement and empowerment, and for the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms set forth in the CRPD. Apart form this special article, gender concerns find mention in the preamble; and in articles relating to general principles; awareness-raising; freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse; health; and adequate standard of living and social protection.
The twin track approach is a new strategy to address double discrimination. By providing both a special provision and incorporation of gender concerns in general provisions, it guarantees to disabled women both same and different. The same approach should be adopted in the new domestic law. While the right is the same, certain issues may be distinct for women with disabilities, e.g. reproductive autonomy. Thus addressing this issue in the chapter on health would ensure that this specific concern is taken into account. Moreover, incorporating gender concerns at several places in the Act would facilitate implementation. It is likely that an administrator whose main area of concern is, say, health would focus only on the chapter on health and may somewhat ignore the remaining provisions, even though a holistic reading of the legislation is desirable. Here, twin-tracking would ensure that specific concerns of women with disabilities are not ignored. At the same time, a dedicated provision is required to acknowledge that disabled women face marginalization and double discrimination generally, with respect to all rights. It would ensure that the mention of gender concerns in certain provision does not result in the freezing of enforcement measures for women with disabilities only with respect to those issues. The dedicated provision would ensure that all rights, entitlements and programmatic interventions throughout the legislation apply equally to women with disabilities.
Article 6 of the CRPD requires states parties to take all appropriate measures to ensure the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by women with disabilities. Thus, the CRPD does not restrict the states to twin track only with respect to the same provisions as in CRPD. It allows, or rather requires, states to go beyond that and take all measures to achieve full enjoyment of all rights by women with disabilities. In fact, during the formative stages of the CRPD, proposals to include gender were made in many more provisions including statistics and data collection; respect for home and family; national implementation and monitoring, etc. Besides, international standards are often seen as minimum levels of protection, being considered the floor rather than a ceiling. Thus, states may incorporate gender concerns in other provisions in accordance with their specific social conditions, and in furtherance of the fulfillment of the aspirations of CRPD.
In the context of the Indian society, this paper suggests the need to address gender concerns in several provisions of the new law. There is a lack of recognition of rights of disabled women; the concept that a woman has rights is well adopted by Indian women, however not by women with disabilities. Thus, twin tracking should include both recognition of rights and provision of entitlements and programmatic interventions. A dedicated provision has been provided to address the concerns of disabled women generally and to reaffirm the guarantee of equality and non-discrimination. Twin tracking has been done on the premise that certain lived experiences of disabled women do not get addressed in general provisions on persons with disabilities and the dedicated provision is not enough to address the same.
A dedicated provision on women with disabilities is required to reaffirm the guarantee of equal protection of law and to mainstream their concerns. The provision may be in the following terms:
All women and girls with disabilities are equal before and under the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law.
The appropriate government and authorities under the Act shall take all appropriate measures, including formulating, extending and implementing gender-specific programmes and schemes, to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all rights by women and girls with disabilities.
No woman or girl with disabilities shall be excluded, either fully or partially, from any entitlement or programme provided for the benefit of persons with disabilities under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force on the ground of sex.
Nothing in this section shall prevent the government or any authority from taking specific measures for, or providing special entitlements to, women and girls with disabilities to promote full and equal enjoyment of their rights.
Sub-section (1) is a general provision, giving a guarantee of equality and non-discrimination. It gives recognition to the fact that women with disabilities are entitled to all the rights provided for in the legislation.
Sub-section (2) imposes an obligation on the government and authorities to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all rights by women with disabilities. This provision also requires them to take gender-sensitive measures for the same.
Sub-section (3) prohibits discrimination against women with disabilities on the ground of sex. The significance of the words “on the ground of sex” lies in the fact that the Act restricts the provision of entitlements by providing for an enumerative definition with respect to entitlements. Thus, while a disabled woman may be excluded from an entitlement for persons with disabilities if she does not fit within the criteria provided in the definition, this exclusion cannot be on the ground of sex. Thus, while the law in general ensures the equality of persons with disabilities with non-disabled persons, this provision would ensure that women with disabilities are not discriminated against vis-à-vis disabled men.
Sub-section (4) is an explanatory provision allowing for positive discrimination in favour of women with disabilities. This provision is required even though sub-section (2) already mentions gender-specific programmes. While a gender-specific programme under sub-section (2) might provide equal benefits but may be gender-sensitive in terms of reasonable accommodation requirements, this sub-section clarifies that even additional entitlements may be provided to women with disabilities.
No specific rights or entitlements have been mentioned here, and no illustrative enumeration has been done to avoid freezing and/or prioritizing. One of the reasons behind the inclusion of a dedicated provision is to ensure that enforcement does not remain confined to those particular sections in which twin tracking has been done. If an enumeration is done here, it might defeat that purpose by prioritizing particular areas, and might result in freezing enforcement in those areas. Hence, a general provision mentioning all rights, entitlements and programmes has been drafted. Recognition of specific rights and provision of specific programmatic interventions should be done under the relevant chapters.
The Preamble may play an important role in the reading and interpretation of the statute An evocative Preamble should try to eliminate stereotypes existing against persons with disabilities and raise awareness, guiding the state and civil society. Hence, to facilitate a gendered reading of the statute, a mention of gender should be made in the Preamble. The Preamble should acknowledge the fact of existence of multiple discrimination and the need for provisions to counter the same, taking into account the distinct experiences of women with disabilities. For similar reasons, gender concerns should be incorporated in the provision on guiding principles of implementation and interpretation.
With respect to definitions, the definition of ‘reasonable accommodation’ should address gender concerns as women with disabilities have distinct accommodation requirements in terms of reproductive health, maternity leaves in employment, etc. Also, enumerative definitions with respect to entitlements should take gender into consideration as a criterion for providing the entitlement benefits.
Article 12 of the CRPD recognizes the legal capacity of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others. The recognition of legal capacity is the foundation of the current disability movement and is quintessential for a shift to a rights-based approach. Failure to recognize the autonomy and legal capacity of women with disabilities heightens their vulnerability. For example, in the case of forced sterilizations, in the absence of recognition of legal capacity the consent and choice of disabled women will not be respected.
Often forced abortion, sterilization, etc. are performed on disabled girls and women under the pretext that they are in her “best interest”. Recognition of legal capacity can help shift away from the best interest approach to a universal capacity approach. An explicit recognition of legal capacity of women with disabilities can bring a change in the way legislations are drafted, implemented and interpreted.
This part of the statute contains provisions regarding accessibility, awareness-raising and human resource development. These provisions are a prerequisite for the implementation of other provisions of the Act. The non-inclusion of gender dimension in these provisions might render implementation of other gendered provisions difficult. For example, without adequate awareness-raising measures on the legal capacity and rights of disabled women, it would be hard to achieve recognition of their reproductive autonomy and right to privacy within the family. Similarly, if personnel in shelters provided for protection of women who are victims of domestic violence are not trained with respect to the accessibility and other requirements of women with disabilities, provisions on protection from abuse through such protection services might become redundant. Thus, the provision on accessibility should take into consideration the specific requirements of disabled women, and all measures on awareness-raising and disability rights training need to be gender-sensitive. Since women with disabilities have different lived experiences and face distinct stereotypes, all such measures should be informed by this difference.
The civil political rights which are of special concern to women with disabilities should be explicitly recognized under the Act and the relevant entitlements and programmatic interventions be mentioned. Apart from the right to equality, where sex should be mentioned as a ground on the basis of which discrimination is prohibited, the following rights should address gender concerns.
The right to integrity is basically the right to be ‘you’. This right is about respecting the personhood of the individual and ensuring that she is able to exercise her fundamental rights. Self-determination is an important issue for women with disabilities. This right also ties with a number of other aspects relevant for disabled women. For example, in relation to health, it is significant in the context of right to choose, respect for consent, autonomy, etc. This right is also relevant in the context of protection from abuse. Thus, the recognition of the right to integrity specifically for women with disabilities is necessary in relation to the guarantee of these other rights and entitlements.
Violence and abuse against women and girls with disabilities is widely prevalent. Disabled women are vulnerable to forms of abuse to which the non-disabled women are not. As compared to non-disabled women, women with disabilities are more likely to experience abuse by attendants or health care providers. Further, disabled women face barriers to escape from this violence which non-disabled women do not. In certain cases, women with mental disabilities may not realize that they are experiencing abuse. They are more likely than non-disabled women to accept abuse as a normal part of their life. The existing perceptions towards women with disabilities also operate as a barrier. The notion that they are asexual leads to a misconception that women with disabilities cannot be in a relationship, thus cannot be abused. Due to this misconception, along with the fact that persons with disabilities form a discredited group, women with disabilities are less likely to be believed when they report abuse. Such misconception also makes disabled women feel that they should appreciate any kind of intimate attention, howsoever abusive. This unwillingness to escape abuse is accentuated by the lack of protection services and shelters, there being a strong possibility of institutionalization if protection is sought.
The CRPD also recognizes the increased vulnerability of women with disabilities to abuse and exploitation by explicitly includes the gender aspects of the freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse. The new Act must ensure protection of women with disabilities from abuse, violence and exploitation. The law needs to provide gender-specific measures to enable women to escape from the abuse by enhancing the accessibility and availability of protection services. The conventional means of a woman's escape from domestic violence, like domestic violence shelters, protection orders, have not evolved to meet the needs of disabled women. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is already in place to protect women who face domestic violence. The existing domestic violence service infrastructure, which includes police officers, court system, shelter homes, Protection Officers, service providers, medical facilities, etc., needs to be made accessible to women with disabilities and relevant provisions need to be made for the same. Amendments may also be made in the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 to ensure that the protection provided is accessible to women with disabilities.
Along with extending the existing framework, other provisions need to be provides to cater to specific needs of women with disabilities. The changes which need to be made in the existing framework to make it accessible need to be assessed. These measures include removal of physical barriers, including those regarding communication, awareness-raising, capability building, etc. The law also needs to provide for rehabilitation measures, specific to the needs of women with disabilities.
Article 22 of the CRPD guarantees the right to privacy. This protection has a wide ambit which includes privacy in family, home, correspondence, honour and reputation, and personal, health and rehabilitation information. All these facets of the right to privacy are significant in relation to women with disabilities.
Issues of both bodily and sexual privacy are important for them. The privacy right to reproductive autonomy appears to be more restrictive for disabled women than for non-disabled women. Most women with disabilities do not enjoy the right to privacy in relation to their body. The fact that women with disabilities are denied their sexuality is itself a violation of this right. This is especially true for institutionalized women who are denied any opportunity to engage in intimate relationships.
Recognition of right to privacy for women with disabilities would require protection of privacy in personal hygiene and self-care within the home. For institutions, this would mean that sexual needs and identity of women are recognized and arrangements are made accordingly. Thus, if living in the same room with males violates a woman’s right to privacy, separate rooms cannot be denied due to the misconception that persons with disabilities are asexual.
Recognition of the right to privacy is also important because it is linked to a number a other rights and entitlements, like right to home and family, health, reproductive autonomy, etc., whose implementation may be become more effective with the recognition of this right. The recognition of the right to privacy for women with disabilities will make for a more comprehensive, complete and coherent law in terms of protection of their rights
This right guarantees respect for the choice of a disabled person, and also provides access to a range of support services necessary for an independent living and for inclusion in the community. The recognition of right to live independently can have implications with respect to other choices that the person makes. Disabled women who have access to the resources to live independently can define their own sexual identity by making independent sexual choices. Support services necessary for women with disabilities to enjoy this right should be available in different settings—home, school, work, community—and should support a range of activities, including personal care, menstrual care, sexual hygiene, employment, volunteer activities, study, socializing, parenting, political activities, religious activities, etc. This right imposes obligation on states to provide dignified living options to women. Thus, it is also significant in the context of shelters for women who seek escape from abuse and their rehabilitation thereafter.
Women with disabilities are not expected to have relationships and are perceived as asexual. Due to such perception, they have been denied the roles associated with womanhood, including the role of being a mother. Thus, the law should recognize the right to home and family for women with disabilities. The state needs to ensure that disabled women have the right to marriage, family, parenthood, and relationships on an equal basis with others. Article 23 of the CRPD provides for this right.
A crucial issue with respect to this right is that of forced sterilization and abortion. Women with disabilities, especially cognitive disabilities, have been stereotyped as being incapable mothers. Such notions have made the practice of forced sterilization and abortions on girls and women with disabilities rampant. What is most disturbing is that at times such practice is authorized by the state itself. For example, in 2008, the Maharashtra government itself recommended hysterectomy operations on mentally challenged women on the ground that they have “no sense of hygiene” during menstruation. The judiciary has also given implied recognition to such practices in the past.
Forced sterilizations and abortions are also often practiced on the pretext of being in the “best interest” of woman with disabilities. It is believed that a girl with disability would be unable to take care of herself if burdened with such responsibility, or that she is more likely to be raped due to her disability, and thus, sterilization can prevent the resulting undesirable pregnancy. At times, it is genuinely believed that forced sterilization is in her best interest. In Sucheta Srivastava v. Chandigarh Administration, the Punjab and Haryana High Court exercised parens patriae jurisdiction and allowed the abortion of a mentally disabled woman against her consent, even though medical experts cautioned that such abortion would have serious adverse impact on the health of the mother. Such practices continue even though women with disabilities claim that the denial of their mothering rights through forced sterilization or general discouragement by doctors and family members not to have children, is an experience of oppression.
With the adoption of the legal capacity approach in the CRPD, the best interest approach cannot survive and non-medical hysterectomy, forced abortion, etc. cannot be performed on disabled women. The law must recognize the reproductive autonomy of women with disabilities and their right to retain their fertility. The fact that even law people have authorized forced sterilizations and abortions indicates that mere recognition of legal capacity of women with disabilities in the legislation might not be enough. Taking it to its logical end, the legislation should explicitly prohibit forced sterilization and abortion, and make the violation of this provision a punishable offence. Recognizing the motherhood of women with disabilities, the Act should also prohibit giving away a child of a disabled woman in adoption without her consent. Such twin-tracking, by recognition in the provision on legal capacity and a guarantee of the right to home and family to disabled women, with a prohibition on such practices, would ensure that the present best interest approach is replaced by the norms of universal capacity and supported decision-making, in tune with the spirit and text of CRPD. Also, all relevant programmatic interventions in terms of education in family planning, etc. should be equally gender-sensitive.
The political participation of women with disabilities is very low due to the multiple discrimination that they face. One of the reasons is that women with disabilities have developed a low self-esteem by internalizing negative messages about their capabilities. A low political participation can further the stereotype that they are incapable of participating in public and political life effectively. Thus, it is important to give recognition to their right of political participation to counter this social exclusion. This may also help in ensuring that the concerns and demands of women with disabilities are addressed.
Article 29 of the CRPD deals with participation in political and public life. In furtherance of this right, a provision for reservation for women with disabilities may be made in the new Act. Half of the seats reserved for persons with disabilities may be reserved for disabled women. This should be at all levels of governance, including local governments. Besides, the state needs to develop effective mechanisms to track and register all adult women with disabilities as voters. This should include institutionalized women, who are furthest from the democratic process. An appropriate environment for the exercise of the right to associate can also increase political participation.
This provision is important to ensure that persons with disabilities are not neglected while taking measures for protection and safety during situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies. This fear of neglect is greater for vulnerable groups like women with disabilities. Thus, the provision on identification of persons in the new Act should also mention women with disabilities so that they are not rendered invisible or given a low priority in providing services. All policies and procedures need to be reviewed to ensure that they accommodate the special needs of women with disabilities. All services, including counseling, psychotherapies, etc. need to be gender sensitive.
This part of the statute addresses socio-economic rights which are most effectively realized through programmatic interventions. The statute would provide the mandatory programmes required to realize the entitlements. This segment of the paper looks at the socio-economic rights which specifically need to address gender concerns.
Women and girls with disabilities fare less well in the educational arena than either their disabled male or nondisabled female counterparts. Education is deemed less important for girls in the Indian society as they are not expected to become breadwinners. Disability limits their opportunities even more. Many girls with disabilities are not only denied access to education, but are also hidden away, as disability is perceived as a stigma. Article 24 of the CRPD deals with education. The importance of education, especially for girls with disabilities, cannot be overstated. It will help in moving away from the existing stereotype. Not only does it have an inherent value, education is also instrumental in the enjoyment of other rights and entitlements by providing access to information, enabling girls to communicate and participate in public life effectively, raising employment opportunities, etc. Thus, all policies and programmes aimed towards enhancing educational opportunities for persons with disabilities must also take into consideration the existing cultural bias against girls. Gender-sensitive measures to promote education and vocational training are required with reach all girls with disabilities, including those in rural areas. Programmes which give incentives to parents of disabled girls to provide education to them are also required. Providing special allowance to families to meet the educational expenses, allowances covering transportation costs, scholarships, etc. can serve as effective incentives by reducing financial costs of the families. Where such programmes are provided for all children with disabilities, reservations may be provided for girls with disabilities.
Another barrier which prevents girls with disabilities from accessing education is inaccessibility to basic facilities such as toileting facilities. Inaccessible toilets might mean that a disabled girl would need help with toileting. Menstruation triggers such concerns for parents. In cultures emphasizing on modesty and privacy, especially for girls, the need for such personal assistance can be highly problematic, and can result in denial of schooling. Other facilities, such as residential facilities have also been found to be inaccessible. In some special schools, the residential system in schools discriminates against access by girls. Thus, programmes must take into account all such barriers faced by girls with disabilities. While disabled girls need greater access to programmes for girls and for disabled children, they also need programmes specifically designed to address their unique needs.
There is dual stigmatization of disabled women as they are affected by negative stereotypes of both women and people with disabilities. There are vast disparities in the labour force participation rates of women with and without disabilities, and between women with diqabilities and men with disabilities. Stereotypes frame disabled woman as unable to fulfill either the traditional role of homemaker or the newer role of wage earner. Due to dhe double stereotyping, they are denied work even in the areas traditionalli occupied by women, like nursing, teaching, etc. Due to the fact of disability, they are thought of as aqexual for jobs like secretary, rece`tionist, model, etc. At the same time, they are denied jobs traditionally occupied by males and are thought of as sexual and lacking intelligence. Thus, some disabled women cannot gain access to traditional female jobs because of employers' attitudes towards their disability and cannot access traditional mald jobs because of employers' sexist attitudes. Further, in employment, women with disabilitaes often experience unequal hiring and promotion standards, unaqual access to training and retraining, unequal access to credit and other productive resources, unequal pay for equal work and occupational segregation.
Thus, the new legislation should give recognition to the equal right of disabled women with respect to employment opportunities. Affirmative action, like reservatimns in employment and poverty alleviation programmes, that is taken for the benefit of persons with disabilities should include women, and half of the total reservations may be for women with disabilities. All programmes on employment should be comprehensive and the Act should not classify certain works as preferentially or exclusively for disabled women as this might reinforce the stereotype that women are capable for performing only kinds of work. For example, some vocational courses and counseling for persons with disabilities are gender-stereotyped, tracking girls to lower paying jobs with fewer opportunities for advancement. No provision or programme should have the effect of freezing of disabled women in to certain categories of work and preventing their employment in the other categories. Enumerating certain works or jobs may have such effect, and thus, should be avoided.
Along with this, the new Act needs to take into account different requirements for women with disabilities and include appropriate reasonable accommodation provisions. This includes providing for safe and healthy working conditions, maternity leaves, etc. The existing legal framework for the benefit of women should be extended to women with disabilities. In furtherance of the requirement of reasonable accommodation, the Act may also provide additional benefits to women with disabilities, for example, in terms of longer maternity leave. However, it should be ensured that such provisions are not detrimental to the interests of disabled women. For example, a longer maternity leave might cause employers to avoid recruiting disabled women. Alternative options in the form of maternity leaves along with flexible work arrangements may be considered. If additional leave is provided, it should be proportionate and allow the special needs of the mother to be accommodated.
Women with disabilities are also often subject to harassment at work and sexual exploitation. In furtherance of Article 27(1)(b) of the CRPD, the Act must also provide for protection from harassment and grievance redressal mechanism. The Act may also require the states to formulate schemes for training and skill development and for self employment.
The significance of the right to health for women with disabilities has already been stated. Article 25 of the CRPD also requires states to provide gender-sensitive health services. The Act must include sexual and reproductive health. The notions of free and informed consent in relation to healthcare need to be specifically extended to women with disabilities, especially mental disabilities, in relation to sexual and reproductive health. In furtherance of this, non-medical hysterectomy and forced abortions need to be prohibited. All health services and healthcare programmes must be accessible to girls and women with disabilities, including those in rural areas.
Article 28 of the CRPD guarantees adequate standard of living and social protection. It specifically mentions women with disabilities in relation to access to social protection and poverty reduction programmes. The provision on social security in the legislation would consist of a number of programmatic interventions for persons with disabilities, including on housing, food security, pension, unemployment allowance, etc. Gender concerns should be addressed wherever relevant, especially in relation to ensuring an adequate standard of living. The Act may provide for the formulation of developmental schemes specifically aimed at the empowerment of women with disabilities. Other schemes may give preference to women with disabilities in the distribution of benefits. If reservations are provided in existing schemes to persons with disabilities, half of the total reservations may be for disabled women.
Article 26 of the CRPD requires the states parties to provide for habilitation and rehabilitation programmes, particularly in the areas of health, employment, education and social services. These programmes should to be based on the based on the multidisciplinary assessment of individual needs and strengths. This provision is meant to ensure the full inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities, which requires the state to implement programmes on certain issues which are of special concern to women with disabilities, e.g health, employment, etc. Thus, this provision should specify that the programmes must be gender-sensitive. Besides these programmes in relation to capacity development, habilitation and rehabilitation programmes should also be formulated in relation to civil political rights. For example, in relation to Right to be protected against violence, abuse and exploitation, along with protection services, rehabilitation services are also required, which need to be gender-sensitive.
Under each chapter of the statute, there might be provisions the violation of which needs to be made punishable. These would relate to rights of persons with disabilities in general, and those specifically addressing concerns of disabled women, e.g. abolition of forced abortion. This part of the Act shall make punishable the infringement of such provisions, prescribing different proportions of punishment for different offences. There is no need to address this aspect for women with disabilities in a separate part of the Act or in the relevant chapter of which the offence forms a part. This part will adequately address all offences which form a part of the entire statute.
gendered reading of disability law reveals that there is a need to
incorporate gender concerns in several provisions of the legislation,
in the absence of which the specific needs of women with disabilities
might get neglected even in the presence of a disability legislation in
place. While the dedicated provision on women with disabilities should
recognize their rights generally and impose obligations on duty bearers
to make programmes addressing their concerns, specific mention is
required in a number of other provisions. This is both in the form of
recognition of the rights of disabled women, and providing for
entitlements and programmatic interventions.
The need for twin tracking arises due to the invisibility of the lived experiences and requirements of women with disabilities. However, twin tracking should not be misunderstood as granting something “more” or “extra” to women with disabilities. All provisions incorporated for disabled women after twin tracking are only an application of the concepts of legal capacity, reasonable accommodation and substantive equality that have been already accepted for persons with disability. Twin tracking is required to merely highlight the concerns of women with disabilities so as to render them visible to the policy makers and administrators.
is hoped that such an approach would mainstream gender issues for girls
and women with disabilities to an extent that gradually the need for
adopting such an approach would get eroded. However, at present there
is a need to adopt such strategies to ensure that women with
disabilities are not neglected from policies and programmes. If the law
does not provide for such specific provisions, even with the CRPD and
domestic legislation in place, their aspirations might get fulfilled
only for half the subject population.