Women with Disabilities and Allies Will Link Arms at October Forum

August 15, 2003

by Kim Burrow, Communications Intern

Women with Disabilities & Allies Forum - Linking Arms for Equality & Justice for AllWomen living with and without disabilities share many of the same concerns and challenges. As they follow their dreams, they may face barriers including limited access to employment, education, financial security and medical services.

NOW and the NOW Foundation are dedicated to creating a world where all women, disabled or not, are valued, respected and encouraged to realize their full potential. To further this goal, the NOW Foundation and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) will co-sponsor "Women with Disabilities and Allies Forum: Linking Arms for Equality and Justice for All" in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 17-19, 2003.

The NOW Foundation and the AAPD will bring together a diverse group of women from across the country to discuss a broad range of issues, share ideas, give support and forge an alliance committed to creating a more just and equal world.

"All women share the dream of full equality, economic and personal independence, educational and employment opportunity, reproductive freedom and full participation in society," said NOW President Kim Gandy. "Women living with disabilities face multiple forms of discrimination, making it even harder to achieve their goals. Breaking down these barriers is a longstanding priority of NOW and the NOW Foundation, and we are thrilled to be working with AAPD on this important issue."

The AAPD is the country's largest cross-disability membership organization, promoting the economic and political empowerment of all 56 million children and adults with disabilities in the United States. It was founded in 1995 to help unite people with disabilities, their families, friends and supporters, and be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

"This forum will cross the boundries of sexism and ableism, as we work together on mutual concerns," said Stephanie Ortoleva, co-chair of NOW's Disability Rights committee.

The forum will kick off on Friday evening, Oct. 17, with a reception and entertainment at the Hyatt Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland. Saturday and Sunday will feature plenary sessions, workshops and panel discussions. An impressive list of leaders from the feminist and disability rights communities have been invited to speak and conduct workshops. Topics on the forum agenda include:

  • economic empowerment
  • the state of civil rights
  • political activism and grassroots organizing
  • abortion, reproductive rights and custody issues
  • health care and caregiving
  • violence against women and inaccessibility of shelters
  • aging and disability
  • lesbians with disabilities
  • young women with disabilities and young feminists
  • body image
  • bringing together the disability rights and feminist movements
"Now more than ever, disability rights advocates must cultivate diverse allies in our common struggle for justice, dignity, and respect for human and civil rights. AAPD is delighted to join with the NOW Foundation to bring together leading activists and organizers this October for an historic opportunity to reinforce and reinvigorate our combined efforts to achieve equality, empowerment, and justice for all," said AAPD President and CEO Andrew J. Imparato.

"Women with Disabilities and Allies Forum: Linking Arms for Equality and Justice for All" will provide a unique opportunity for activists and newcomers to motivate, teach and inspire each other in a supportive setting.

Register online at www.nowfoundation.org/forum.

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