Autistic women, girls need empowerment to overcome discrimination — UN chief

António Guterres


Women and girls with autism should be empowered to overcome discrimination, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said on World Autism Awareness Day.

Guterres also joined the global call to involve women and girls with autism and their advocates in policy and the decision-making process to address the challenges they faced.

“They face barriers to accessing education and employment on an equal footing with others, denial of their reproductive rights and the freedom to make their own choices, and a lack of involvement in policy making on matters that concern them,” Guterres said.

The UN chief emphasised that “our work for gender equality and women’s empowerment must reach all the world’s women and girls”.

The Secretary-General stressed that the international community’s efforts at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should uphold the 2030 Agenda’s core promise to leave no one behind.

The SDGs and the landmark framework from which they emerged were adopted by UN Member States in 2015.

Together they aim to wipe out poverty and boost equality by putting the world on a more sustainable economic, social and environmental path by 2030.

“On World Autism Awareness Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to promote the full participation of all people with autism, and ensure they have the necessary support to be able to exercise their rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Autism is a lifelong neurological condition that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status.

The term Autism Spectrum refers to a range of characteristics.

Autism is mainly characterised by its unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information.

The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high and the lack of understanding has a tremendous impact on the individuals, their families and communities.

The World Day is marked annually on April 2, and the 2018 official UN commemoration would be on Thursday, April 5.

The commemoration will be a half-day programme in New York entitled Empowering Women and Girls with Autism, featuring a keynote address from Julia Bascom, Executive Director, Autistic Self Advocacy Network. (NAN)

– Apr. 2, 2018 @ 18:27 GMT

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