Around The Globe, People With Disabilities Face Unseen Discrimination. We Must Do Better.
In Argentina, there is no formal or legal barrier to women becoming judges. But according to a 2013 report, 56% of Inferior Judges, 67% of Appeal Judges and 78% of State Justices in Argentinean courts are men.
Why should this be the case? The answer is, of course, structural inequality.
It’s also the reason why today, across the world, people with disabilities lag behind in employment and health indicators across the world. So severe is the issue worldwide that in 2014 the United Nations created a Special Rapporteur position to examine the problem, which affects many of the one billion people – about 15% of the world’s population – who have some form of disability.
In Latin America, though statistics are not fully reliable, we know that many children with disabilities are not being educated: only 20% to 30% of children with disabilities attend school. According to the International Labour Organisation, 70% of people with disabilities of the region are unemployed.
In the US, people with disabilities are segregated and over-represented in civil and criminal institutions. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 70% of US public school students who are physically restrained or secluded have disabilities, 60% of people in local jails have some form of mental disability and 48% of people with disabilities have an income of $15,000 or less.
The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council has pointed out that people with disabilities are also more likely to experience poverty and social exclusion and less likely to be employed, receive an education, or gain access to public services; they are more likely to be the victims of violence and contract HIV/AIDS.
As I have written in my latest book, understanding how both women and people with disabilities – not to mention people of colour, immigrants and other minority groups – are invisibly constrained requires understanding the difference between legal equality and real equality.