Disability Social History Project


Disabled Women at the 4th World Conference on Women - 1995

Disabled Women's Alliance logoThe United Nations (UN) held its Fourth World Conference on the Status of Women from September 5 - 15, 1995 in Beijing, China. In conjunction with the UN conference a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Forum on Women was held from August 30 through September 7. Disabled women organizers strategically scheduled the First International Symposium on Issues of Women with Disabilities on August 29, 1995, the day before the NGO Forum began. This was an historic event in that it was the first time that disabled women organized to target a traditionally nondisabled women's conference.

Over 200 disabled women and their allies from 25 countries attended the symposium. Disabled women and disability rights organizations were responsible for organizing the symposium and bringing women to Beijing. At the symposium one of the goals was for each disabled woman to be a participant in the decisions about issues affecting disabled women and how they should be addressed at the NGO Forum and UN Conference.

Watch Out! Disabled women are on the move! from SHIAIn addition to the nearly 200 women who attended the symposium it was estimated that another 200 disabled women attended the NGO Forum and UN Conference. At the NGO Forum women with disabilities had their own tent. They organized workshops, presented papers, and communicated to the rest of the women at the forum the necessity for inclusion. Women also gathered information from their sisters in other countries through photography, video, and interviews.

(From the booklet Disabled Women: Visions and Voices from the Fourth World Conference on Women produced by Wide Vision Productions)

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