News & Current Affairs

Gertrude Oforiwa Elected Chair of UN Disability Committee

By Azeezat Okunlola | Mar 11, 2023
Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame of Ghana has been elected to chair the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), becoming the first African woman to lead the committee.


Gertrude was chosen for the role during the CRPD's 28th session in Geneva, Switzerland; she is also the global advocacy manager for social inclusion at Sightsavers. The gathering was held on March 7th, the day before women all across the world celebrated International Women's Day.


Gertrude has been a member of the committee since 2018, and she has been a staunch supporter of disability rights and inclusive education, especially for girls with disabilities, her entire life.


She was first put forward for the job by the government of Ghana, her hometown. To promote gender parity on UN committees, Sightsavers has been running the Equal UN campaign since 2016, which is how Gertrude first became involved with the CRPD.


"This is an incredible recognition of Gertrude’s commitment and dedication to the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly women and girls. Getty is a true force for the realisation of the Convention and I have no doubt will lead the work of the committee with the same energy and passion that she shows every day in her work for Sightsavers, " Sightsavers’ deputy CEO, Dom Haslam, said.


With Gertrude at the helm, the CRPD will continue its work to advance the rights of people with disabilities worldwide. Among these responsibilities is monitoring the implementation of the approximately 180-country-strong Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted by the United Nations.


An election report showing that only 12 percent of heads of 33 key international organisations have been women since 1945 has been released at the same time. The United Nations and the World Bank are two such international organizations.