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EDF Women's Voice Newsletter | Issue 30 | December 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 last newsletter of the year we focus on material and activities linked to the international day on elimination of violence against women that took place end of November. 

You can read the statements on violence against women and girls with disabilities adopted by experts from the United Nations and by the European Disability Forum. We also inform you about a tribute paid to women and girls with disabilities victims of forced sterilisation in Spain. 

This month we were expecting the publication of the proposal of a EU-Directive on combating gender-based and domestic violence. This has been postponed to February 2022. We will keep you informed once we receive more information on the text. 

We also inform you about a proposal to add hate speech and hate crime to the list of EU crimes in the EU Treaties, and a call to nominate women in the Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise Initiative. 

The European Disability Forum wishes you a good end of the year and happy holidays to those celebrating. 

In solidarity and sisterhood, 


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




Stop violence against women red background

UN experts calls on States to take action to eliminate gender-based violence against women and girls with disabilities

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities joined the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence in a statement published on 15th of November. 

The international experts called on States parties to the CEDAW, CRC and CRPD Conventions and all stakeholders to take decisive action in preventing and eliminating  gender-based violence, and to ensure that women and girls with disabilities and their representative organisations are involved in policies aimed at eliminating gender-based violence against women.

In a lengthy statement, the experts highlight: 
  • the need for a stronger international legal and policy framework that recognises the greater risks of violence faced by women and girls with disabilities 
  • increasing risks of gender-based violence against women and girls with disabilities, including during the pandemic 
  • challenges to effective access to justice experienced by women and girls with disabilities
They call for a renewed commitment towards gender equality for women and girls in all their diversity, including women and girls with disabilities. 

Download the full statement.

Call for contributions: Violence and its impact on the right to health

The Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health has identified sexuality, gender based violence and femicide as one of her priorities during her tenure (See A/HRC/47/28 paras 50-64). In compliance with her mandate and in line with this priority she has decided to devote her next thematic report to the 50th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2022 to the theme of “Violence and its impact on the right to health.”

The Special Rapporteur intends to shed light on who is seen as victims of violence, and who is affected by what type of violence, with emphasis on the violence experienced by women, children, LGBTI persons and conflict related gender based violence. She will also explore the role of men as perpetrators and their experience as victims of violence. Her analysis will look into the responses that survivors of violence receive with a focus on good practices, as well as the obligations, responsibilities, and protections that arise under the right to health framework and other relevant human rights in this connection. She will also report on emerging trends related to the impact of COVID-19 on all forms of violence and related responses.

You can contribute to her report by filling out a questionnaire available here. The deadline for contribution is 18th of January 2022


EDF Statement: No more violence against women with disabilities!

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 25th November three women, one black woman standing a raising an arm up with in front of her a brown woman in a wheelchair raising an armed up and a white woman also raising her arms up

This statement was published by the European Disability Forum on the 25th of March, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, by the European Disability Forum. 


The European Disability Forum condemns the situation in which thousands of women with disabilities find themselves in the European Union as victims of male violence against women or at serious risk of falling victim to it. Furthermore, these women with disabilities encounter innumerable barriers when claiming their rights in the face of the law and are left unprotected by a justice system which purports to guarantee rights but which, nevertheless, excludes precisely those who are most vulnerable and, therefore, run a greater risk of falling victim to violence.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to increased exclusion, more violence and greater social inequalities in all European Union Member States, emergency public policies to combat violence against women have, once again, overlooked women with disabilities in access to justice, an essential instrument to be able to exercise rights effectively, compensate victims and take a stand against discrimination and violence.

As women with disabilities, we come up against an appallingly patriarchal and ableist justice system in all European Union Member States. In practise, women with disabilities are denied access to justice not only due to obstacles to accessibility and a lack of procedural accommodations within the justice system and the fact that legal assistance is unaffordable, but also, and what is most hurtful, because of the unwillingness, stereotypes and prejudices shown by the judiciary, prosecutors, legal experts and law enforcement agencies towards the few women with disabilities who dare to report violations of their human rights.

In fact, those within the judicial system are often reluctant to give credence to the testimonies offered by women with disabilities and they often fail to bring cases involving violent acts against women with disabilities because more resources are required due to the need to prove the victim’s ability to give consent and testify, or because of their linguistic or cultural identity, such as women who are Deaf or deafblind. The few court rulings involving women with disabilities, rather than protecting them, fail to respect fully their human rights. Excessive formalism in proceedings and a different, specific language with which most citizens are unfamiliar, serve to make legal proceedings incomprehensible to ordinary women with disabilities and in particular those with an intellectual or psychosocial disability or other limitations in accessing communication and information.

Although the right to free legal aid is recognised in some European Union countries to those who can demonstrate insufficient means to bring cases, women victims of violence and other social groups, it is necessary to extend this right to all women with disabilities who are victims of multiple or intersectional discrimination due to their gender and disability.

There are many issues which, on a day against violence such as today, lead us to speak out and CALL FOR the following:

  1. The European Union must urgently ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).
  2. The European Union must adopt laws and policies to combat violence against women, including an EU Directive criminalising all forms of male violence against women and girls (including forced sterilisation), and providing assistance and support to all women and girls victims, and add gender-based violence to the list of EU crimes.
  3. A Europe-wide, large-scale survey on violence against women with disabilities in order to determine the real situation and be able to develop and implement suitable public policies in response to this serious issue.
  4. Steps to ensure in all European Union Member States full inclusion and accessibility in all specialised programmes and services for women victims of violence, as well as training on the specific characteristics of disability in relation to male violence against women.
  5. Measures to promote and guarantee access to justice for women with disabilities, including those who are under substituted decision making mechanisms (such as guardianship or curatorship), while ensuring the full accessibility of all procedural safeguards, including through the provision of age-appropriate procedural accommodations, access to information and communication and human and technology-based support chosen by women with disabilities themselves in their dealings with the justice system.
  6. Cross-institutional operating protocols at national level involving law enforcement agencies, members of the judiciary, prosecutors, lawyers and all other concerned actors to guarantee women with disabilities enjoy full access to justice.
  7. The European Union and its Member States must promote training programmes aimed at all stakeholders within the justice system to eradicate symbolic obstacles, prejudices and pre-conceived ideas about women with disabilities.
Read the full statement. 

What is disability-specific violence? 

Disability-specific violence are forms of violence faced by women and girls with disabilities that are exacerbated because perpetrators take advantage of the barriers and discrimination they face on the grounds of their disability. For example they may include physical, psychological and economic violence such as restraint, sexual abuse during daily hygiene routines, removal or control of communication aids, violence in the course of treatment, overmedication or withholding medication, control of finance including allowance and emotional abuse related to disability. Women with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, deafblind women and girls, and women and girls with high support needs are most a risk of disability-specific violence.

Read more in our article on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. 

Read our position paper on violence against women and girls with disabilities in the European Union.

Tribute to women and girls with disabilities victims of forced sterilisation in Spain

A year ago the Spanish Parliament voted to ban forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities in its penal code. Until then the practice was still authorised and perpetrated. However, the exact number of women and girls with disabilities victims of the practice remains unknown. 
conference room in Spain

On 2nd December 2021, a tribute was organised for all the victims of forced sterilisation in Spain. The event was attended by the Ministers of Social Rights and Equality, Ione Belarra and Irene Montero, along with Concha Díaz ,vice president of the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (Cermi), Rosemary Kayess, Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Cristina Paradero, activist with a developmental disability, victim and National Youth Award 2021; Loli Minaño, woman with mental health problems, victim and member of the Women's Mental Health Network; and Ana Peláez, Vice President of the UN Committee against all forms of discrimination against Women.

The Spanish mouvement is asking for more research and data on forced sterilisation in Spain. 

Read more (in Spanish).

The Commission proposes to extend the list of ‘EU crimes' to hate speech and hate crime

On 9th of December, the European Commission presented an initiative to extend the list of ‘EU crimes' to hate speech and hate crime, as announced by President von der Leyen in her 2020 State of the Union speech. The existing list of EU crimes in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) needs to be extended to ensure minimum common rules on how to define criminal offences and sanctions applicable in all EU Member States. 

In its communication, the European Commission makes 16 mentions to disability. The proposed Council decision on the topic also includes a paragraph on persons with disabilities victims of hate speech and hate crime and the obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

It is an important initiative to combat the rise of hate speech and crimes, including faced by women and girls with disabilities who may fall victims of hate speech and hate crime based on their disability, gender and/or other grounds. You can find more information in EDF's position paper on hate speech and hate crime against persons with disabilities.

Next steps

The Council needs to unanimously adopt, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, a decision identifying hate speech and hate crime as another area of crime that meets the criteria set out in Article 83(1) of the TFEU.

Following that, the Commission may propose the adoption of legislation establishing minimum rules on the definitions and sanctions of hate speech and hate crime to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in line with the ordinary legislative procedure.

Read more.

Nominate women with disabilities to the Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise Initiative

Top 100 Women in social enterprise

For almost 15 years, Euclid Network (EN) fosters social entrepreneurship and social innovation in Europe through knowledge exchange, capacity building, networking and international advocacy. EN combines the expertise from 21 European countries to empower social enterprise in achieving positive change. In the spirit of empowering women leaders in Europe, EN has launched the Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise Initiative. Through this initiative EN celebrates women in the social enterprise sector, spotlighting their impact journey and achievements, connecting them to learn from and inspire each other. 
Selected candidates will be featured in the Euclid Network Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise 2022 list, which will be released on International Women’s Day, 8th March 2022. Exclusive interviews with the nominees will be published on EN website and newsletter. This is one of the multiple ways in which the designated leaders will benefit from media exposure and gain access to EN’s vast network of impact practitioners in Europe and beyond.
You can nominate a candidate in either of the two following categories:

1. Social Entrepreneur
For women entrepreneurs leading or employed in a for-profit, non-profit or hybrid organisation in a social enterprise.

2. Social Innovator
For public and private social intrapreneurs, leaders of intermediaries such as social incubators and national networks of social enterprise and academics. 
Find out more about eligibility and criteria here.
Nominate a female leader here.

Please note that the deadline for nominations is Sunday 30th of January 2022. 

Calls and consultations

Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health
European Disability Forum

Grant opportunities 

Call for proposals to prevent and combat gender-based violence and violence against children

ProgrammeCitizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV)
Publication: 15-Dec-2021
Deadline date: 12 April 2022 17:00:00 Brussels time


With this call, divided into 5 priorities, the European Union aim at financing projects that will:

  • integrate prevention of various forms of gender-based violence against women in different contexts, with a systemic approach (priority 1, “large-scale projects”)
  • tackle harmful practices against women and girls (priority 2)
  • prevent gender-based violence by tackling its root causes (priority 3)
  • support and improve national data collection on violence against children (priority 4)
  • strengthen responses that prevent and support child victims of violence by reinforcing child protection systems at national and local level (priority 5)

For more information please see the Call document.

Lead 2030 Challenge to Reduce Inequalities

Deadline Date: 15-Dec-2021

Donor Name: One Young World

Grant Size: $10,000 to $100,000

Category: Awards, Prizes and Challenges

Asahi is proud to support the Lead 2030 Challenge for SDG 10, to reduce inequalities within and among countries, with a focus on women’s rights and representation.

One Young World have partnered with the LEAD Network to help to help them increase the representation of women in the company. The Challenge aims to connect with and support solutions that positively impact the wellbeing and future of vulnerable women in society by supporting and enabling them to feel like they belong through greater inclusion and representation in their community.

More information.

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 2022


7-22 February81st session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women 

28 February-4 March83rd pre-sessional working group of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women


8 March: International Women's Day (theme: “Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”)

7-25 March: 26th session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (review of Hungary, Switzerland and the European Union) 

14-25 March: 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women

27 March-1st April: 15th pre-sessional working group of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (list of issues prior to reporting on the Netherlands) 

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

This EDF Mailing is issued in English, and is addressed to EDF Members and allies. Readers are invited to reproduce the information provided the source is quoted and that the confidential nature of the information is respected. Please note that EDF cannot be held responsible for the content of external websites.
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