The nation celebrates the 17th Women with Disabilities Day according to Proclamation No. 744 issued on December 6, 2004, entitled “Declaring the Last Monday of March of Every Year as Women with Disabilities Day”.

The National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) and Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) are both mandated to spearhead the celebration together with other agencies and organizations of women with disabilities.

This year’s theme “Women’s with Disabilities in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World” with Filipino translation “Kababaihang Maykapansanan sa Larangan ng Pamumuno: Pagkamit ng Pantay na Kinabukasan sa Mundong May COVID-19”. The theme emphasizes the role of women with disabilities in shaping the new normal with high hopes and expectations in their capability as leaders in ensuring the future post-COVID pandemic world.

Several webinars were prepared to focus on the challenges and solutions of women with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics will focus specifically on health, education, livelihood and employment, and gender and development equality. Among the topics of the virtual forums will cover specifically 1. Promoting Accessibility of Women with Disabilities in Public Establishments: Guidelines and Techniques; 2. COVID-19 and Gender Equality for Women with Disabilities; 3. Coping Abuses and Violence Against Women with Disabilities During COVID-19 Pandemic; 4. Pathways to Education for Women with Disabilities in Higher Education; 5. Disability Inclusion of Women with Disabilities in COVID-19 Responses in World of Work; and 6. Understanding Sexual and Reproductive Health of Women with Disabilities: Importance and Benefits.

Honorable Maria Lourdes T. Arroyo, Chairperson of Special Committee on Persons with Disabilities, Lower House, and Honorable Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba, Chairperson of the Committee on Women and Gender Equality, shall lead the celebration in the March 29th webinar. They will be joined by Executive Director Emerito L. Rojas of the National Council on Disability Affairs.

The Day’s celebration is an avenue to highlight women with disabilities’ achievements and discussion of emerging issues on gender equality, sexual and reproductive health rights, public governance, education, and employment, among others.

As aptly stated by Director Emerito L. Rojas, “NCDA will continue its efforts in empowering Persons with Disabilities through responsive plans, programs, and services for the sector”.
However, in his final statement, Rojas added urged all women with disabilities to stand up and take up the challenge of leadership in rebuilding the post-Covid-19 era.

“I call on all women with disabilities to take the challenge of taking the lead in empowering more women with disabilities and be part of re-building the Nation. Let us all join hands in realizing that goal for the betterment of the sector in the post-Covid world”, Rojas concluded.