Presentation by Monique Blakemore to CEDAW, United Nations 30th October 2015
Autistic women are a marginalised sector of the worlds largest minority group, the disabled community. There is an estimated 51,870,000 autistic women worldwide, a similar population to England.
Autistic women are subjected to systemic disadvantage in most areas of their lives. Autistic women experience exclusion socially, in education, in their personal lives, in the judicial system and in access to healthcare. Autistic leadership, exemplified by organizations such as Autism Women Matter, the Scottish Women’s Autism Network (SWAN) and Alliance Autiste, is necessary to challenge stigma and discrimination.
Real, effective, and meaningful participation of autistic people, regardless of gender, is encapsulated in the phrase ‘nothing about us without us’ and is the aim of the autistic rights movement. Representation of autistic people by groups and individuals is frequently unfunded and unsupported. Unfortunately, ‘tokenism’, which is the illusion of consultation, is over-representative of the autistic advocacy experience. Autistic voices can be crowded out by those of professionals and parent caregivers that love and support us, but may see autism through their own experience.