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EDF Women's Voice Newsletter | Issue 26 | July 2021
Women's Voice is about you! It is a way to share and receive updates on gender equality, women's rights and rights of women and girls with disabilities in Europe. Send us your news, events, calls for action and any other relevant news items to include in this newsletter to:

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Dear sisters and colleagues, 

In this July newsletter we inform you about barriers faced by feminists with disabilities in the Generation Equality Forum and a conversation that took placed in the form of a shadow side-event due to the inaccessibility of the Forum's platform. We also share with you our advocacy on the EU Directive on Pay Transparency, our concerns about Turkey's withdrawal of the Istanbul Convention and new resources to read and listen to. 

There will be no Women's Voice issue in August. We will be back in September, re-energised after the summer holidays.

I wish you a safe and relaxing summer. 

In solidarity and sisterhood, 


Marine Uldry
Human Rights Officer
European Disability Forum | nothing about us without us -




Feminists with disabilities could not take the floor in the Generation Equality Forum

The Generation Equality Forum is a global gathering for gender equality convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France, in partnership with youth and civil society. The Forum kicked off in Mexico City in March and culminated in Paris from 30 June to 2 July 2021, launching a series of concrete, ambitious and transformative actions to achieve immediate and irreversible progress towards gender equality.

Unfortunately, the Generation Equality Forum was not accessible and inclusive to all women and girls with disabilities. As the organisers of the Forum were not able to provide an accessible online platform for all women and girls with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in the event, we were obliged to withdraw from the Forum and decided to organise a ‘shadow’ side event, providing captioning and sign language interpretation.

PowerPoint slide "feminsits with disabilities take the floor" logos of EDF, IDA and Women EnabledScreen shot of participants and speakers during the shadow side event

Our shadow side event was organised jointly with the International Disability Alliance and Women Enabled International on 30th of June. We discussed priorities to achieve gender equality and women’s rights for all women, including for women with disabilities. Ana Pelaez Narvaez engaged in a debate with Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the audience, on the barriers faced by feminists with disabilities to engage in the feminist movement, strategies to include their perspectives in the global women’s rights agenda and how to raise awareness on the importance of their effective participation in the feminist movement.

Women Enabled International new publications 'Guaranteeing Rights at the Intersection of Gender and Disability in the COVID-19 Response'

In August 2020, Women Enabled International (WEI) partnered with UNFPA, UN Women, and seven women-with-disability-led organisations to document and respond to the lived experiences of women, girls, and gender non-conforming persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis.

More than 300 persons with disabilities and their advocates across the world shared their experiences, with a particular focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, the right to freedom from violence, and related rights. As a result of this research, WEI produced five resources to guide pandemic response and recovery and seek to set a new standard for future crisis preparation that ensures human rights and inclusion at the intersection of gender and disability.

Discover the publications: 
  1. The Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Girls with Disabilities: A Global Assessment and Case Studies on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Gender-Based Violence, and Related Rights
  2. Compendium of Good Practices during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Ensuring Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for Women and Girls with Disabilities
  3. COVID-19, Gender, and Disability Checklist: Ensuring Human Rights-Based Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women, Girls, and Gender Non-conforming Persons with Disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  4. Women, Girls, and Gender Non-Conforming People with Disabilities — Know Your Rights! Gender-Based Violence during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  5. COVID-19, Gender, and Disability Checklist: Preventing and Addressing Gender-Based Violence against Women, Girls, and Gender Non-conforming Persons with Disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic
You can find all the publications in accessible Word format, and soon in Easy to Read on WEI's website


We advocate for the inclusion of women with disabilities in the Pay Transparency Directive

Earlier this year, the European Commission issued a proposal for a Directive on pay transparency to combat pay discrimination between women and men, as part of the implementation of its Gender Equality Strategy. The proposed directive is now being examined by the European Parliament. 

From the start, we have been advocating for the inclusion of women with disabilities, with provisions ensuring that the Directive will also benefit them. This is particularly important considering the gender and disability pay gaps faced by women with disabilities. According to the Gender Equality Index 2020, they have on average the lowest financial resources (16.380 EUR/year) comparing to men with disabilities (17.275 EUR/year) and women without disabilities (19.572 EUR/year). 

These are our main demands:

  • The Directive must introduce an intersectional approach, including through the recognition of multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination and measures to assess and recognise the gender and disability pay gap. A specific provision on assessment of intersectional and multiple forms of discrimination by national court and competent authority must be introduced.
  • Pay transparency obligations must apply to all employers, irrespective of the size of the company/organisations, and types of employment. For instance, it must apply to employers in sheltered workshops in which women with disabilities, especially women with intellectual disabilities may be working, and it must apply to part time work.
  • Information on pay transparency must be available to all persons with disabilities in a variety of accessible communication and formats, including easy to read and accessible digital documents.
  • Data must be collected and disaggregated by age, gender and disability
Read our proposal for amendments of the Directive.

Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention became effective on 1st of July

Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, a convention combatting gender based and domestic violence, became effective on the 1st of July. At this occasion, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women issued a statement condemning this decision. 

"The adoption of this decision in the midst of the COVID- 19 pandemic has the potential to deepen the protection gap for women and girls during a time when gender-based violence against women (GBVAW) is on the rise and thereby undermines the international human rights system seeking to prevent, and protect women and girls from such violence. Such an unprecedented act cannot, and does not, have a valid ground and justification." Read the full statement. 

The European Women's Lobby launched a Gender Budgeting Platform

The European Women's Lobby launched a gender budgeting website. This website is an online knowledge capacity and resource platform designed to support women’s civil society and to act as a tool to demystify and socialise gender budgeting. The aim is to enable more widespread adoption of gender budgeting in advancing equality between women and men. EDF was consulted in the design of the website to ensure better accessibility. 

"Gender budgeting is a way of analysing or preparing budgets from a gender equality perspective. This simply means making sure the needs of all citizens – women and men, girls and boys are reflected in budgets." Learn more on the Gender Budgeting Platform. 

To read & listen to

  • EDF Executive, Pirkko Mahlamäki, published an article on "Gender-based violence against women and girls with disabilities" (in French and English) as part of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies and the Fondation Jean Jaurès' series of publications authored by gender equality experts and civil society representatives shedding light on specific dimensions of gender-based violence. 
  • The International Planned Parenthood Federation launched the Podcast series "Gender and the Union". It explores why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. 
  • Peter Fremlin spoke with Misti Ashrafun Nahar, founder of the Women with Disabilities Development Foundation in Bangladesh, in its Disability Debrief of 22nd of June. 

Calls and consultations


Grant opportunities 

Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights

Need some small, flexible, rapid response grant to support your activism? The Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights (UAF) is an intersectional feminist activist fund that makes response grants of up to US$8,000 to women and trans/queer/non-binary human rights defenders, including those with disabilities, and their organisations when they face unexpected security threats because of their activism or unanticipated advocacy opportunities. Supporting mainly groups that are under-resourced, they do not require official registration and can fund informal and unregistered groups, as well as individual activists in North America, Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East. Its Sister Funds  make grants in AfricaLatin America and the Caribbean, and Asia and the Pacific.

You can learn more about UAF on their website and apply for a grant on this webpage. For further information, please contact Elsa Saade ( 

Calendar 2021



6-15 July: High Level Political Forum (HLPF)

9 July: Event as part of the "No means no" Project (online, in German) 


16 August-10 September: 25th session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (online) (review of France) 


16 August-10 September: 25th session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (online) (review of France) 

16 September: EDF Discussion on the future of the Disability Card: What kind of Card do we want? (online)


18 October-12 November: 80th session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (review of Spain, Sweden) 

The European Disability Forum is an independent NGO that defends the rights of over 100 million Europeans with disabilities. EDF is a unique platform which brings together representative organisation of persons with disabilities from across Europe. EDF is run by persons with disabilities and their families. We are a front runner for disability rights. We are a strong, united voice of persons with disabilities in Europe.

Visit EDF website

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Copyright © 2021 European Disability Forum, All rights reserved.

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Director of publication: Marine Uldry

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