Count us in! How to make sure that women with disabilities can participate effectively in mainstream women's entrepreneurship development activities
International Labour Organization
Through its standards and advocacy work, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has long advocated equality of opportunity and treatment for persons with disabilities and their inclusion in programmes and services open to the general population, in particular through the ILO Convention concerning the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons, 1983 (No. 159). This ILO mandate has been given renewed impetus following the entry into force of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in May 2008. Effective and meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream activities is now increasingly an expectation of national policies, programmes, services and activities targeting the general population, as well as in UN agency programmes and technical assistance projects. Until now, most programmes and projects have worked with people with disabilities in isolation, separately from the main thrust of activity. At the same time most mainstream initiatives have not considered the inclusion of people with disabilities in any meaningful way. With the greater emphasis now on including disabled people in general programmes and projects, managers, staff and partners of the ILO and other UN agencies are likely to need more information on how to mainstream effectively. The Count Us In! guidelines aim to meet that need. They are designed, in the first instance, for enterprise development specialists, as well as those involved in management and planning in this field, to enable them to include persons with disabilities in general entrepreneurship training and services on an equal basis with others. They also contain practical advice for disability specialists in their activities to promote entrepreneurship and improve livelihood. These guidelines, developed during a project funded by Irish Aid, are the first in a series of practical advice to be made available to ILO Employment Sector specialists and more broadly, with a view to making it possible for them to meet the goals of equal opportunity and treatment of disabled persons, to advance the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Acknowledgements are due to Maureen Gilbert who prepared the guidelines in consultation with Barbara Murray, Senior Disability Specialist, ILO Geneva and Grania Mackie, Regional Technical Advisor, Women’s Entrepreneurship and Gender Equality (WEDGE) project, ILO Addis Ababa, with valuable comments by Debra Perry while she was Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist in ILO Bangkok. The contribution of Claire-Pascale Gentizon in preparing the manuscript is also acknowledged.
disabilities; guidelines; entrepreneurship