By Rosemary McKay, Director, Disability Policy Section, AusAID
Rosemary will join a panel of experts at the Canberra One Just World Forum (free
to attend) on the topic of ‘Overcoming Barriers—Living with a Disability in the Developing World’ on 22 May 2012, 6pm at Old Parliament House.
While I don’t have a disability and I don’t live in a developing country, I do have some experience of disability. My nine-year-old son has an intellectual disability and autism. For my son, and my family, living with a disability is challenging. But, here in Australia, the rights of people with disability are in legislation. My son can go to school
with his sister, which he loves to do; medicine for his epilepsy is subsidised; and we can access a range of support to assist him and our family. My husband and I are both able to work.
Members of the Disability-Inclusive Development Reference Group with AusAID Director General, Peter Baxter, in Canberra. Photo: AusAID
In many developing countries, the outlook for people with disabilities and their families is much bleaker. If I’d had my son in a developing country, chances are that I would be a full-time carer, and my son would most likely not be able to go to school. The health care costs associated with his condition and my family’s reduced income would steadily make us poorer, and I might feel too much shame to socialise with friends or take my son out into the community. I might find this situation so hard to cope with that I might even resort to locking my son up at times so that I could get basic chores done.
By Dereck Rooken-Smith, Assistant Director General, Office of Development Effectiveness, AusAID
This week is the second half of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, a global campaign to raise awareness of gender-based violence as a human rights issue. The Office of Development Effectiveness is also turning its attention to gender equality, which is the subject of an upcoming ODE independent evaluation.
To promote discussion and inform the design of the evaluation, ODE commissioned five think pieces on issues around the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 3 – promoting gender equality and empowering women.
International Women's Day 2011 Honiara, Solomon Islands (photo by Jeremy Miler)
Given that freedom from violence is so important to women’s empowerment, it is perhaps surprising that the MDG goal doesn’t incorporate an indicator that tells us whether gender violence is increasing or decreasing. In her piece, Dr Christine Bradley argues that robust data on violence against women is the fuel for advocacy and for action, yet finds we are missing the vital statistics that tell us about the scope and impact of the problem. Violence, especially between intimate partners, is notoriously under reported in police and hospital figures. Methods for measuring violence against women at national level were simply not well enough developed at the time the goals were being written. Instead, MDG 3 focuses on achieving education parity between boys and girls and increasing the number of women in waged employment and elected to formal decision making bodies.