Deaf Women Included (DWI) director, Agness Chindimba has called for gender responsive laws as women and girls with disabilities continue to face intersecting forms of discrimination due to their gender, disability, and social and negative cultural norms.
ln an interview with 263Chat Chindimba said women and girls with disabilities are at higher risk of gender-based violence (GBV), sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), Harmful Practices (HPs), poverty and marginalisation due to the absence of responsive laws.
“Disabled women and girls are significantly disadvantaged with regards to access to justice, there is very little accessible information on what to do after experiencing crime/ GBV not to mention police stations and court houses are poorly equipped to handle persons with disabilities; reason being, they have limited knowledge on dealing with disabled survivors and many resort to victim blaming, thus, remaining at the marginal end of economic empowerment in wake of this.
“Therefore, the development of a law which protects women and girls with disabilities should set the precedence for Zimbabwe to enact laws that affirm the gender-equality principle and guarantee gender equality in practice,” said Chindimba.
She added that laws should ensure that women and girls with disabilities are protected from discrimination in all aspects being political, economic or social, as well as from any form of violence or abuse that affects them disproportionately.
DWI called on the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that the drafting process of the bill widely consults through an inclusive process and considers specific needs and lived realities of women and girls with disabilities.
“For it to be effective, gender-responsive law-making must include measures to secure and monitor implementation of legislation, including the allocation of adequate resources and gender-responsive budgeting,” she said.