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EDF Women's Voice Newsletter | Issue 27 | September 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, 

We hope that you had a pleasant, safe and relaxing summer and are back with refreshed minds and energy. 

This month, we honour the life of Soumia Amrani, a mother and fierce disability rights activists, member of the UN Disability Rights Committee who passed away during the summer. We also share with you new campaign and resources materials, as well as inform you about an EU consultation on victims' rights and an upcoming study on the cost of violence against women in the EU. You will also find a new funding opportunity with a call for proposals launched by the Alliance for Gender Equality. 

Is there something you would like to see featured in the next Women's Voice? Contact us! 

In solidarity and sisterhood, 


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



In Remembrance of Soumia Amrani, mother, activist and member of the UN Disability Committee

Portrait of Soumia Amrani smiling, hearing a white and purple headscarf, colourful paintings as background

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Soumia Amrani, a Moroccan disability activist and member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, due to COVID-19 on the 18th of August.

Soumia began her advocacy as a mother of an autistic daughter and established herself as a strong advocate and expert in the disability movement. She was the president of the NGO Collectif Autisme Maroc and vice-president of the Moroccan national alliance to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. Among many other achievements, she is at the origin of the first university curriculum on autism in Morocco.

In 2020, Soumia was elected to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and started her mandate in January this year.

“During her time with the Committee she distinguished herself as having strong policy analysis and perspective. She was particularly passionate about the rights of inclusive education, women and girls with disabilities and desinstitutionalisation” said the Chair of the UN CRPD Committee during its 25th session in August.  

This year, Soumia also helped to develop the partnership between Collectif Autisme Maroc and the United Nations Population Fund to work on discrimination based on disability and gender, with a focus on access to information on sexual and reproductive health and rights through digitalisation.

Yannis Vardakastanis, EDF President said: “I was distraught to hear about the passing of Soumia. Her death represents a great loss to the disability movement and to the world. Our thoughts are with her family and friends, the Moroccan disability movement and her colleagues in the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”


WeAre15: joint the international campaign for the human rights of persons with disabilities 

Click to watch the campaign film of WeAre15

The 19th of August marked the start of a 10 years campaign to end discrimination against persons with disabilities worldwide. 

Designed and supported by a series of sports and human rights organisations, including the International Paralympic Committee and the International Disability Alliance, the campaign aims to put disability at the heart of the inclusion agenda and act as a global movement publicly campaigning for disability visibility, accessibility and inclusion.

You can learn more and join this campaign in the official website.

To mark this historical campaign and alliance between sports and human rights organisations, the European Disability Forum published 3 testimonials of women with disabilities on how sports improves the life of persons with disabilities:

What will happen to women and girls with disabilities in Afghanistan? 

Since the Taliban take-over of Afghanistan in August, UN experts, civil society organisations and diplomats have raised grave concerned about the future of civilians and of the country. Women are among the persons deemed the most at risks of human rights abuses, including killings. 

In 2020, Human Rights Watch had already revealed the systemic abuses faced by Afghan women and girls with disabilities in the countries, including barriers, discrimination, and sexual harassment in accessing government assistance, health care and schools. The 31-page report, “‘Disability Is Not Weakness’: Discrimination and Barriers Facing Women and Girls with Disabilities in Afghanistan,” details the everyday barriers that Afghan women and girls with disabilities face in one of the world’s poorest countries.

“All Afghans with disabilities face stigma and discrimination in getting government services, but women and girls are the ‘invisible’ victims of this abuse,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “The Covid-19 crisis will make it even harder for women and girls with disabilities to get adequate health care.” Last month's takeover has made the situation increasingly difficult which will require close monitoring and advocacy for their rights. 

New UN Women Resource Kits on women and girls with disabilities 

The UN Women's “Briefs on women and girls with disabilities series” has been updated with the two important resources kits. 

UN Women and Women Enabled International developed a “Know your rights” guide in consultation with women with disabilities.

The purpose of this document is to provide a user-friendly guide for women with disabilities across the globe to understand their rights in accessing support when experiencing gender-based violence and to enable them to advocate with States for their rights.

This checklist is intended to guide a wide range of States, gender-based violence support service providers, and other stakeholders, as well as United Nations Country Teams, providing guidance on pandemic response and recovery efforts on how to prevent and respond to gender-based violence against women, girls, and gender non-conforming persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergencies.

It is also a tool to guide recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure that rights at the intersection of gender and disability are respected, protected, and fulfilled as part of that recovery.

Joint letter on the lack of accessibility of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris

In early July, we informed you about the concerns and disappointment of feminists with disabilities regarding the lack of accessibility of the Generation Equality Forum. The Forum was meant as an unique opportunity to advance women's rights and gender equality worldwide. Unfortunately, many marginalised and discriminated women could not participate in the event

We have joined Women Enabled International, the International Disability Alliance, Femmes pour le Dire Femmes pour Agir and the Inclusive Generation Equality Collective to address a letter to the Secretary General of the Generation Equality Forum, the Director of UN Women and the Ambassador of France to explain the numerous issues faced by women with disabilities during the Forum and express our concerns. The letter was sent last week with 218 endorsements. 

Read our letter on the lack of accessibility of the Generation Equality Forum.


The EU is evaluating its rules on victims' rights

The European Commission launched a public consultation on the Directive on victims' rights. This Directive sets the rules related to support to, and rights of, victims of crimes in the European Union. 

It is an important initiative for women and girls with disabilities who are on average at higher risk than men with disabilities and other women to become victims of crime, including violence such as physical and sexual violence. While the Directive recognises the rights and needs of victims with disabilities, the rules are often not implemented in European countries. 

EDF will prepare a submission highlighting the gender and disability perspectives. We encourage other organisations to take part in the public consultation. Deadline is 25th of October. 

Gender-based violence costs the EU €366 billion a year

The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) has estimated that the cost of gender-based violence across the EU is €366 billion a year. Violence against women makes up 79 % of this cost, amounting to €289 billion.

“Human life, pain and suffering do not have a price. However, knowing the cost of violence can help EU countries channel money to where it’s really needed -- and where it’s most cost-effective. The money spent on supporting victims is not enough, with services such as shelters making up just 0.4 % of the cost of gender-based violence. EU countries need to invest more in activities that prevent violence against women and protect victims -- this is both a moral imperative, as well as savvy economics,” said Carlien Scheele, EIGE’s Director. 

EIGE’s new study breaks down the different costs of gender-based violence, with the biggest cost coming from physical and emotional impact (56 %), followed by criminal justice services (21 %) and lost economic output (14 %). Other costs can include civil justice services (for divorces and child custody proceedings for example), housing aid and child protection.

EIGE has calculated the cost of gender-based violence in the EU and in each Member State based on extrapolated data from the United Kingdom. This links the cost of gender-based violence in each EU Member State directly to its population size. As EIGE’s study includes a review of existing methodologies to calculate the cost of gender-based violence, EU Member States can use this as a building block to design their own domestic cost estimations.

To ensure an accurate calculation of the cost of gender-based violence, EU countries need detailed data from public services such as law enforcement and the justice sector. Because gender-based violence is under-reported, countries also need survey data to get a true idea of the number of victims. Collecting detailed data on different forms of gender-based violence is an obligation under the Istanbul Convention, which all EU countries have signed and 21 have ratified.  

The study will be published in September 2021.

Calls and consultations

European Commission  Eurofound 

Grant opportunities 

“2021 Fund for Covid Solidarity” launched by the Alliance for Gender Equality in Europe

The Alliance for Gender Equality in Europe is pleased to announce the launch of its first call for proposals this September 6, 2021. The “2021 Fund for Covid Solidarity” will distribute grants of up to 50 000€ for organisations working on gender equality and women’s rights in Europe.

The Covid‐19 crisis has stretched many civil society organisations working in the field of gender equality in Europe to the breaking point. Women are facing increased risks of poverty, violence against women and other issues negatively affecting their employment, health, safety and wellbeing. In this context, the Alliance for Gender Equality in Europe has been created to enable donors to combine forces, leverage funding, raise awareness, build support, and help sustain organisations working on gender in the region.

The Alliance is supported by the Fondation CHANEL, the King Baudouin Foundation, and the L’Oréal Fund for Women for an initial period of 3 years and is hosted by the Network of European Foundations (NEF). It emerged from a broad stakeholder consultation and brings together corporate philanthropy and traditional foundation support in a two-part initiative comprising both a pooled fund and a knowledge platform.

For its first call, the Alliance has decided to support organisations impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, including (but not limited to) those working in the following thematic areas:
  • Access to education and training
  • Access to economic resources and entrepreneurship
  • Violence against women /Health and social protection
  • Climate change and gender
  • Technological development and innovation (the digital divide)
The complete call for proposals and modalities of application are attached and can be viewed in this website. The deadline to answer the call is October 6, 2021. 

To learn more about the Alliance for Gender Equality in Europe:

Contact: Nadège Lharaig, Programme Manager (

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



16 August-14 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)


11 October: International Day of the Girl Child 

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


25 November: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women


1 December: webinar on trafficking against women and girls with disabilities

1 December: EDF Women's Committee meeting  

2-3 December: European Days of Persons with Disabilities Conference 

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

Funded by the European Union

Copyright © 2021 European Disability Forum, All rights reserved.

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Director of publication: Marine Uldry

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