A Word of Welcome

by Stephanie Ortoleva

A cartoon illustration of a series of orange, blue, and yellow books sitting on a dark teal shelf. The background is light teal.
A cartoon illustration of a series of orange, blue, and yellow books sitting on a dark teal shelf. The background is light teal.

Welcome to the Women Enabled International Blog – Rewriting the Narrative with WEI! This is a new space we are launching to showcase the voices, opinions, and stories of women with disabilities and allies championing the rights of women and girls with disabilities worldwide. We hope that you will find the posts here both informative and thought-provoking.

Much of Women Enabled International’s work involves legal language and complicated international human rights procedures. It is my hope that Rewriting the Narrative can be inviting for both experts and those less familiar with the issues to learn about our work and the work of our colleagues from around the world in the fight to bridge the gap between the disability rights and the gender rights fields.

The beginnings of Women Enabled International can be traced back to 2010. For many years, I worked in international women’s rights spaces and sometimes in disability rights spaces. In both, I found that disabled women were generally absent and ignored.  Something had to be done, and voila thus began Women Enabled International! We are the first international organization dedicated to advancing human rights at the intersection of gender and disability.

Since then, WEI has grown into a close-knit team with staff, board members, fellows, and interns from all over the globe. At least half of us have a disability ourselves or a family member with a disability; the other half are dedicated allies. What brings us all together – no matter from what continent or time zone we may be working – is our shared passion for disability justice, gender justice, and the radical potential of complete intersectional inclusion.

On Rewriting the Narrative, you will find posts by WEI staff, colleagues and advocates under the “Blog Posts” tab and updates on WEI’s work under the “WEI News” tab. We invite you to consider contributing to this blog and sharing your work and voice. If you would like to submit a blog post proposal, please complete the following form: Submit to Rewriting the Narrative.

Let us join together to rewrite the tired, incorrect, and pervasive narratives about women and girls with disabilities worldwide.

Yours in global sisterhood,

Stephanie


About the author Stephanie Ortoleva, the Founder and President of Women Enabled International, is a highly recognized international human rights lawyer, policy and development consultant, author and researcher on issues of women’s rights, disability rights and the rights of women and girls with disabilities. As a woman with a disability herself, she brings the development, academic and legal perspectives to her work as well as her personal experience as a woman with a disability.

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