Merging Movements: MADRE and MIUSA's New Partnership

MADRE staff give deaf applause for MIUSA presenter Maegan Shanks
MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, recently made a commitment to ensure disability inclusion is at the core of their values and principles. To help them reach their goal, MADRE invited MIUSA to engage with them through a nine-month partnership and initiative toward inclusive excellence.

“Women are women. If you serve women, you need to serve all women, and you should always expect to have disabled women and girls. This is non-negotiable.” These words, shared by senior-level MADRE staff by the end of the training, reflected a clear and bold shift in thinking had taken place, especially for an organization where most staff had very limited or no prior experience with disability rights issues.

After conducting an initial assessment with MADRE staff, MIUSA designed and delivered a two-day training at MADRE’s office headquarters in New York this September. In the training, staff learned about disability rights history, achievements and global challenges. They explored possibilities of where and how they thought MADRE could play a role in merging disability rights and women’s rights movements. And, they began to envision the real and sustained effort that is needed to get there. 

“This training feels like the key to actually acting on our principles about disability rights," reflected Executive Director of MADRE, Yifat Susskind, "unlocking a new way of thinking that will make MADRE a better organization.”

The training was just the beginning. Over the next several months, MIUSA will continue to work with MADRE to operationalize their new ideas, strategies and commitments into concrete action.

MADRE is one of the few international women’s organizations taking this initiative. They not only understand their responsibility to promote inclusion of women with disabilities in their work, but they also recognize the incredible opportunity to be an innovator and to drive change through an inclusive, intersectional approach.

MADRE intends to lead by example. Over the next year, MADRE plans to share their progress and learning trajectory, as well as share successes on how they have incorporated disability into all aspects of their work. MIUSA also looks forward to sharing these successes and is proud to support MADRE on this exciting journey!

If you or your organization is interested in having a similar type of training, please e-mail Project Manager Suz Dunn.