It is estimated that 15% of the world’s population live with some form of disability and that prevalence is higher among women, as about 1 in 5 women 18 years and older live with one. The 12th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) took place in the UN Headquarters in New York from 11 to 13 June 2019 and focused on the overarching theme of "Ensuring the inclusion of persons with disabilities in a changing world through the implementation of the CRPD." The CRPD, which includes gender equality as one of its general principles, recognizes “that disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.” 
In 2019, women still represent a small minority of elected representatives and political decision-makers everywhere. Worldwide, only 24.3% of parliamentarians, 6.6% of heads of state, and 5.2% of heads of government are women. Data on political participation of women with disabilities is scarce. According to the UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development, the limited available data shows an “extremely low” participation and representation of women with disabilities in political leadership roles. It reports that “[T]he representation of women from organizations of persons with disabilities tends also to be low in national coordination mechanisms on disability matters” and that their representation “in national machinery for gender equality is even lower.”
Everyone has the right to take part in government  and public affairs, to vote, and to be elected.  Women with disabilities are a diverse group who experience various degrees of discrimination and face many systemic barriers to the exercise of their political rights and empowerment because of their gender and disability. These barriers can be of legal, physical, and attitudinal nature, and include an inadequate access to education, health care, employment, and justice.
This e-Discussion aims to promote a dialogue on the political participation of women with disabilities, in all their diversity, and exchange knowledge and good practices on ways to increase and strengthen their representation in political institutions and national and local elected bodies. Please join the e-Discussion from 14 June to 8 July 2019. Civil society advocates including representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities, women and men in national and local politics, government representatives, experts, practitioners, and academia are invited to contribute with their experiences by answering to one or more of the below questions. The submissions will contribute to the elaboration of a Consolidated Reply that will augment the knowledge base available on the topic. .
- What is the level of political participation of women with disabilities in your country/region? Where can this information be found?
- Amongst women with disabilities in political leadership roles in your country, which groups of women with disabilities (e.g. women with sensory disabilities such as visual and hearing impairments, physical disabilities, and intellectual and psycho-social disabilities) are most represented?
- What are the obstacles limiting women with disabilities’ participation and representation in politics in your country?
- What can be done to increase women with disabilities’ access to political leadership roles in your country? How inclusive of women with disabilities are existing programmes focused on women’s political participation? Please share concrete examples of programmes, laws, regulations, and practices.
- Use the below comment section below.
- Send your contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can post it on your behalf.
 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Preamble, para (e). 2006.
 See also Articles 6 and 29 of the CRPD.
 Map of Women in Politics. UN Women and IPU, 2019: unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2019/03/women-in-politics-2019-map
 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 21. 1948: ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Documents/UDHR_Translations/eng.pdf
 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 25. 1966: ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CCPR.aspx