The 3rd. Asia Pacific Feminist Forum was organized by Asia Pacific Women Law & Development (APWLD) at Empress Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand in September 2017. Ms. Manique Gunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre who is also a Committee Member of the Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United (APWWDU) together Ms. Sonali De Silva from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon attended the APFF. Everyone was able to join other women, development and human rights organizations and advocates from different parts of the region in strengthening movements for development justice. This participatory event brought more than 300 activists, Women Human Rights Defenders, Women with disabilities, academics, lawyers and global allies, facilitating the sharing of tools and resources, providing space for advocacy, strengthening capacities and inviting us to collectively strategies to build more power.

The Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United (APWWDU) organized a side event to:

  • Reflect on achievements and challenges of women with disabilities in claiming rights and development justice.
  • Articulate what feminist development justice is from the perspective of women with disabilities (articulate grounding and principles)?
  • Appreciate key international human rights standards and processes and how this can continue to be relevant to the needs and realities of women /persons with disabilities.
  • Strengthen knowledge and capacities of women with disabilities in advocating for feminist development justice at the national, regional and global levels.

Women with disabilities are mindful of the need for a stronger articulation on gender and feminism in the disability movements and awareness and sensitivity on disability within women’s movements. This reflection comes from a careful appreciation of what they have achieved in terms of carving out spaces for their meaningful participation in setting standards of human rights from the perspective of feminism and disability and an awareness of the challenges they continue to face. Guided by what they bring into the feminist and disability movements was also the same grounding they had in carving out space for their participation in setting, implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. As they engaged in these spaces they are reflective of:

  • Current analysis of the situation and realities of WWDs in the region,
  • Existing policies and mechanisms that support the rights of and development goals women with disabilities at the national level;
  • Basic grounding development justice (given commitments in 2015), CEDAW, CRPD and the SDGs as standards and principles that guide their engagement
  • Need for reflection on what WWDs have gained in engaging in the SDG process and how to strengthening movements to push for this.

The APFF has been witness to the on-going reflection of women with disabilities as they commit and engage in crafting, implementing and monitoring the SDGs given their analysis of gender and disability based discrimination; and what it means to be grounded in feminist development justice.

In this year’s APFF WWDs got the opportunity to engage each other and the wider movement at the APFF of what it means for WWDs to be part of the growing movement on feminist development justice.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Conference day 1.

2 Day 1 group of APWWDU members.

3 Day 1 Manique and Sonali.

4 Day Manique and Sonali.

5 Day 1 Manique near the stage.

6 Day 1 with women with disabilities.

7 Day 2 APWWDU members.

8 Day 2 Manique speaking.

9 Day 2 Manique near the banner.

10 Day 2 Manique.

11 Day 2 participants.

12 Day 3 all participants.

13 Day 3 APWWDU group.

14 Day 3 group photo 2.

15 Day 3 group photo.

16 Day 3 Manique near stage.


17 Opening dinner.


Manique Gunaratne

Executive Committee Member – Disability Organisations’ Joint Front

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *