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© ACDI/Katalina Morales

Supporting inclusive movements: Funding the rights of women with disabilities

Leading advocates and women’s rights donors agree that much more can and needs to be done to include women with disabilities in women’s rights activism, agenda setting, and funding. This brief explores funding at the intersection of women’s rights and disability rights and offers steps donors can take to ensure that their grantmaking is more inclusive of women with disabilities and to support this emerging movement.


Women with disabilities (nearly 1 in 5 women worldwide) experience multiple forms of discrimination that create additional challenges for their activism and lives. These include barriers to accessing education and employment opportunities, as well as experiencing high levels of violence.

Due to discriminatory attitudes and institutional barriers to participation, the voices and lived experiences of women with disabilities have been largely ignored by their communities, societies, and within human rights movements. Many groups of women with disabilities also find it difficult to access funding, as they may lack budgets sufficient for consideration by larger donors or their work may not fit within either women’s rights funding portfolios or those of disability funders.

A recent mapping by Women Enabled International about the state of advocacy by women with disabilities detailed these challenges and highlighted a gap in funding for organizations led by women with disabilities. At the same time, this mapping identified a growing number of country-based organizations led by women with disabilities, ready to expand and deepen their work with further investment.

Human rights funders can help address this gap and promote more inclusive and equitable rights movements by ensuring that the groups they already support make visible the diversity of perspectives, knowledge, and leadership of women with disabilities, as well as by bringing much-needed resources to the field. For women’s rights donors, a critical opportunity exists to bridge the women’s rights and disability rights fields and to strengthen partnerships between women with disabilities and mainstream rights organizations.

“By including women with disabilities, women’s rights funders have the opportunity to work with dynamic leaders and incorporate new ideas that will increase the strength, size, and effectiveness of the women’s rights movement.”Diana Samarasan Founding Executive Director, Disability Rights Fund

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