Bahamas Minister of Social Services Obie Wilchcombe (Courtesy photo)
Bahamas Minister of Social Services Obie Wilchcombe (Courtesy photo)

Bahamas Social Services Minister Obie Wilchcombe said officials are working to tear down barriers against women with disabilities, The Tribune reported Friday.

Wilchcombe made his comments on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at the closing conference of the 13th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers meeting held at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, as he highlighted the key points taken away from the three-day conference.

Noting the challenges women with disabilities face, Mr. Wilchcombe said, “Not only are women and girls disproportionately represented with a disability prevalence rate of approximately 19% versus 12% for men, but they also face multiple barriers that may result in low economic and social status, increased risk of gender-based violence and abuse.”

He added that women and girls with disabilities have been affected by various types of abuse and discrimination, including sexual violence, gender-based discriminatory practices, and limited access to education and health services.

“All ministers acknowledge that these are barriers to the full realization of the rights of all women and girls with disabilities,” Mr. Wilchcombe said. “Ministers welcomed the recommendations for gender equality and inclusion of people with disabilities, highlighting the importance of the collection of disaggregated disability data and the adoption of a disability mainstreaming approach.”

The 13th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting, hosted this year by The Bahamas, discussed issues related to women in leadership, women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women, climate, and the inclusion of women with disabilities.

The next Women’s Affairs Meeting is scheduled to be hosted in Asia.

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