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United Nations urged to include more women with disabilities ahead of election race

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The United Nations is being urged by campaigners round the world to ensure more women with disabilities are elected to positions of leadership. Sightsavers Nigeria is urging their UN representative to vote for diversity in the upcoming UN elections for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The call is part of Sightsavers’ Equal World campaign which is urging the United Nations and its member states to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities by ensuring their voices are heard in the decisions that affect their lives.

Dr Sunday Isiyaku, Country Director at Sightsavers Nigeria says, “We need to see more women with disabilities in positions of leadership. If women are not welcomed into the spaces where decisions are made – how will their voices ever be heard?”

“People with disabilities are experiencing some of the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and women with disabilities are the hardest hit. Now, more than ever, we need to make sure they are in a position to ensure the rights of women with disabilities are upheld.”

The Committee monitors over 180 countries to examine the extent to which they are upholding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Committee then makes recommendations to governments to ensure people with disabilities can access their full range of rights.

As the Committee prepares for its next round of elections in October, the Equal World campaign is highlighting that of the 18 members on the UNCRPD’s monitoring panel, only six are women. Before the campaign began in 2018, only one woman sat on its panel with 17 men.

“The Committee moved forward two years ago when four more women were elected to its panel”, says Dr Joy Shuaibu. “We really want to ensure we continue to make progress to achieve parity and given the situation with the pandemic, now is the time to do that.”

Equal World is calling for people to write to their country’s UN representative before elections close at the end of November. To learn more or support the campaign visit

For further details, interviews and case studies contact Rasak Adekoya, Programme Officer at Sightsavers Nigeria on

About Equal World 

Sightsavers campaign Equal World calls on the United Nations and member states to improve the lives of people with disabilities around the world by promoting disability rights and inclusion throughout its work.

The charity has campaigned for disability-inclusive global development since 2013, and in that time has seen significant recognition of disability as a priority issue.

For more information visit:  

About Sightsavers Nigeria

Sightsavers has been in Nigeria for over 60 years preventing and eliminating avoidable blindness and promoting the equal rights of people with disabilities. We work with local communities, using local volunteers to build trust and encourage people to accept the solution we provide and sustain them.

Sightsavers is an international organisation that works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent avoidable blindness, treat and eliminate neglected tropical disease, and promote the rights of people with disabilities. 

Globally 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment and of these, at least 1 billion people have a vision impairment or blindness that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed. This burden weighs more heavily on poorer countries, and on marginalised communities. And projections show that global demand for eye care is set to surge in the coming years.

In the seven decades since its foundation, Sightsavers has:

  • Supported more than 1.2 BILLION treatments for neglected tropical diseases
  • Carried out more than 7.7 million cataract operations to restore sight
  • Carried out more than 196 million eye examinations
  • Dispensed more than 4.6 million glasses
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