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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality
Theme: Women with Disabilities

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Seminar on Disabled Women
Vienna, 20-24 August 1990
Part 3 of 4


A. Opening of the Seminar

Women with Disabilities icon The Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Head of the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs opened the seminar. In her statement, she emphasized that the focus of the meeting was the identification of issues, resulting from the lack of equality as women and as disabled people that had produced the present situation of disabled women. She stated that the participants had to identify those issues through analysis, and then find workable solutions. She said that the complex issue of changing attitudes had to be addressed.

93. The Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women stated that the seminar was the first United Nations meeting that had been convoked specifically to consider the problems of disabled women and the contribution that disabled women could make to development. She informed the participants that the seminar was co- sponsored by the Standing Women's Committee of Disabled People's International in collaboration with the Social Development Division and the Disabled Persons Unit.

The Director elaborated on the specific problems to be reviewed during the seminar and the unique opportunity it provided to indicate the changes needed, the new laws and regulations that needed to be developed, and the need for research, statistics and studies. In addition, she emphasized that, although most studies of disability made no distinction of issues by sex, situations of double discrimination against women could be documented in a number of areas, such as education and training, health and employment. She noted that the main purpose of the seminar was to determine the extent to which disabled women are double discriminated against because of sex and disability, but in doing so also to identify the problems specifically faced by disabled women compared to disabled men and able women.

Ms. Anneli Joneken, Chairperson of the Standing Women's Committee of Disabled People's International, stated that disabled women needed to be visible and their issues needed to be heard and written about. She said that one of the aims of the seminar was to take part in the important fact finding mission concerning women with disabilities and to put together action-oriented recommendations.

Dr. Fatima Shah, former Chairperson of the Standing Women's Committee of Disabled People's International, also addressed the meeting and stressed the need for national level action. She indicated that the task of bringing disabled persons' issues to public and government attention was tremendous.

B. Election of officers

The following officers were elected:

Chairperson: Ms. Zohra Rajah
Vice Chairpersons: Ms. Rosangela Berman Bieler
Ms. Fatima Shah
Rapporteur: Ms. Anneli Joneken

C. Attendance

A list of participants is given in Annex 1 to the present report.

D. Documentation

Documents issued for the Seminar are listed in Annex 2.

E. Adoption of the report

The report of the Seminar, including the recommendations of the working groups, was adopted in plenary on Friday, 24 August 1990.

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