Skip Navigation LinksHome > News > International Women's Day 2014

International Women's Day 2014

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we reflect on the fact that 60% of all blind persons in Africa are women, and these women face numerous disadvantages. Blind women get less access to healthcare and are also less likely to receive rehabilitation training to help them learn to cope as blind persons. Young blind women and girls cannot go to school as the education system is often inaccessible. Less than 1% of blind girls in developing countries get an education. Education is the key to improve one’s life and integrate into society. 
Many elderly blind women can not perform basic tasks such as cooking or cleaning, and often feel they are a burden to their families. Often a young girl is taken out of school to care for her disabled grandmother and do the chores previously done by the elderly woman. This cuts off the young girl’s ability to socialize with friends and continue her education. We want to change this, and we can with your help.
 
We can do more to help blind women access the social services they are entitled to. Implementing the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) helps disabled women gain access to society by exercising their human rights spelled out in the treaty. The World Blind Union has developed a toolkit to help organizations that serve disabled people work with government departments to make all areas of society accessible. By providing the right support, skills and resources, many of these accessibility obstacles can be overcome. Our CRPD toolkit can be downloaded from this page: www.worldblindunion.org/English/resources/Pages/Toolkits.aspx
Anyone can follow the advice in this document to change their environment to suit those with disabilities. 
It can also be shared with international organizations to improve their development projects and make them inclusive for disabled women and girls.
 
Another international agreement that will help blind and visually impaired girls and women succeed is the Marrakesh Treaty (Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled). Once this treaty is ratified by countries around the world it will allow more books to be published in accessible formats, and for blindness organizations to share books across borders. Millions of blind people living in developing countries will be able to access and read braille and large print books to learn more about their own culture. Textbooks printed in accessible formats will mean more blind girls can access education. More about this treaty can be learned from this page: www.worldblindunion.org/English/our-work/our-priorities/Pages/right-2-read-campaign.aspx
 
You can help us by asking your country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty so that people with print disabilities in your region will be able to access books and other published materials. Share knowledge of the Marrakesh Treaty with your local libraries, schools and government offices. This treaty is available to read or download from the WIPO website in several languages: www.wipo.int/meetings/en/doc_details.jsp?doc_id=245323
 
The World Blind Union (WBU) is the international organization representing the estimated 285 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members are organizations of and for the blind in 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment.