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More Kenyan women than men living with disabilities


Research indicates that women and girls with disabilities are subjected to multiple layers of discrimination based on their gender and disability due to traditional expectations of gender roles which impact how they are perceived by the society.

The United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK) has raised alarm over the increased rate at which cases of sexual violence against women with disabilities are going unreported.

“In institutions where children with intellectual disabilities are hosted, increasing cases of non-teaching staff such as security guards sexually assaulting the girls is on the increase. Two cases are documented from two different counties,” said Sally Nduta the Programs Manager at UDPK.

She further added that many family members due to already entrenched stigma, refuse to associate themselves with public enquiries about violations on girls and women with disabilities despite the fact that they are their relatives.

According to the 2009 Kenya National Survey for Persons with Disabilities (KNSPD), although both men and women with disabilities face difficulties in fulfilling their expected gender roles, a woman with disability is likely to face intense prejudice through stereotypes and culture. Women with disabilities are sexually violated with impunity and there are high rates of rape, defilements and other forms of gender based violence.  

According to the survey, most people with disabilities have little information on their rights, laws or policies affecting persons with disabilities, where to seek services/help or report a complaint, the existence of organizations that provide services for persons with disabilities (PWDs) or even where to raise complaints when they have faced abuse.

UDPK carried out a study which showed that 66% of PWDs are engaged in self-employment due to lack of employment.

A report by Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU) also shows that hawkers with disabilities were more likely to be harassed by City Council Workers as compared to hawkers without disability and thereby curtailing their rights to earning livelihoods.

Although the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that 15 percent of Kenya’s population are living with disability, KNSPD indicates that only 3.5 percent of the population totalling to 1,330,312 people are disabled.

The report further indicates that 682,623 women in Kenya are living with disabilities as compared to 647,689 men.

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