World Autism Awareness Day 2 April 2018
“Empowering Women and Girls with Autism”
World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism – and others living with autism – face every day. As a growing global health issue owing to its increasing exposure in the press and common knowledge, autism is an issue that is only gaining more understanding – and WAAD activities are planned every year to further increase and develop world knowledge of children and adults who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
In November 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution drawing attention to the particular challenges that women and girls with disabilities face in the context of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The resolution expresses concern that women and girls with disabilities, are subject to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, which limit their enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The 2018 World Autism Awareness Day observance at United Nations Headquarters New York will focus on the importance of empowering women and girls with autism and involving them and their representative organizations in policy and decision making to address these challenges.
Girls with disabilities are less likely to complete primary school and more likely to be marginalized or denied access to education. Women with disabilities have a lower rate of employmentthan men with disabilities and women without disabilities. Globally, women are more likely to experience physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence than men, and women and girls with disabilities experience gender-based violence at disproportionately higher rates and in unique forms owing to discrimination and stigma based on both gender and disability. As a result of inaccessibility and stereotyping, women and girls with disabilities are persistently confronted with barriers to sexual and reproductive health services and to information on comprehensive sex education, particularly women and girls with intellectual disabilities including autism.
Through dynamic moderated discussions with experts and advocates, the observance will examine the particular challenges that women and girls with autism face in this context.
Other key issues to be addressed include challenges and opportunities in fully exercising rights in matters relating to marriage, family and parenthood on an equal basis with others, as underscored in Article 23 of the CRPD and in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders at the United Nations in 2015 (SDG 5.6).