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EDF Women's Voice Newsletter | Issue 8 | November 2019
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 you wish to include in this newsletter to:

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Dear sisters, friends and colleagues, 

These months are all about advocacy: at the United Nations, at the European Union, and may I guess, at national level too? 

To support women and girls in bringing their voice to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we published in October a practical guide on why and how to engage with this UN body. Please read it, use it and share it! 

While we don't have a guide on engagement with the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (yet...), you can check the alternative reports from our Belgian and Lithuanian members for inspiration, and to learn more about specific issues in their countries. 

Finally, we are happy to report on the participation of Pirkko Mahlamäki, EDF and the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) Executive Committee member, in the Beijing +25 review and share with you our Factsheet on women and girls with disabilities

Happy reading! 



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





Bring the voice of women to the UN Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

For UN Day, we published a guide on how to engage with the work of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In this guide you can discover: Engaging with the Committee ensures that the voice of women and girls with disabilities is heard in all discussions, including during the review of countries, for instance in relation to access to education and employment, violence, access to justice, sexual and reproductive health and rights, etc. Download the guide here in Word format. 

You can also find on the CRPD Committee webpage the list of countries up for review for 2020. For any questions you can contact Marine Uldry

Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: the gender snapshot 2019

Cover of the report Are we on track to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls?

A newly release publication brings together the latest available evidence on gender equality across all 17 Goals, underscoring the progress made as well as the action still needed to accelerate progress. The publication presents what information is available in the form of an infographic and emphasises the lack of data and need to address this gap. On Leave No One Behind the report makes clear: an analysis on leaving no one behind is inherently an analysis of women and girls from poor, rural and marginalized groups, including women and girls with disabilities. 
Read the full report here.

Do you have input on women with disabilities in international cooperation?

EDF is in the process of drafting a joint paper with Sightsavers on women with disabilities and their role in international cooperation and SDGs implementation. The paper will be published at the beginning of next year.
Do you have any insights and/or examples of :
  • Gaps in the role/focus of women with disabilities in international cooperation?
  • Issues that prevent women with disabilities from being fully involved and participating in international cooperation?
  • Best practices/examples of women with disabilities in international cooperation?
  • Examples of the involvement of women with disabilities in SDG implementation?
If you believe you have personal experiences or testimonies to share related any of the points above or know of anyone who can provide further input, do not hesitate to get in contact with Lucia D'Arino. Please feel free to forward this request to your network.


EDF brings the voice of women and girls with disabilities to the global gender equality agenda

Pirkko Mahlamäki and EWL protesting in front of the United Nations Geneva with cupboard reading "stop silencing women"

Pirkko Mahlamäki, EDF and the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) Executive Committee member participated last week in the Beijing +25 events in Geneva, bringing the voices of women and girls with disabilities to this United Nations’ meeting on gender equality.

Beijing +25 is a worldwide agenda for the empowerment of women. It aims at removing all the obstacles to women’s active participation in all spheres of life through ensuring women a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision-making.
During the Civil Society Forum on 28th October and the official state parties’ meetings on 29 and 30th October, Pirkko presented the factsheet on women and girls with disabilities. This factsheet was prepared by EDF with contributions from EWL and other women’s rights organisations. the factsheet, together with 22 thematic and six regional factsheets, will feed into the debates next year during the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64) and the Beijing +25 conferences in Mexico City and Paris.

Registrations for the 64th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64), which will be held on 9-20 March 2020 in New York, are open from 9 October 2019 to 27 January 2020. For more information please contact An-Sofie Leenknecht

Inclusion Europe organises a training on women empowerment

Inclusion Europe, the organisation representing people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Europe, is organising a 3 days training on "how to fight for women rights and empower each others" in Brussels (Belgium), on 4 to 6 December. 

The training will bring together self-advocates and family members from across Europe. Topics discussed include recognising and fighting abuse and violence, equal pay for equal work and work life balance. 

Learn more about this training and their work on Inclusion Europe's website. 


Bulgaria: visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women 

From 14 to 21 October 2019, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Dubravka Šimonović, conducted a country-visit in Bulgaria. Some of the issues stressed in her end of mission statement are: 

Read the full statement here. The final report on the visit will be presented at the Human Rights Council in June 2020. 

Begium and Latvia: shadow reports to UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women

The Lithuanian Disability Forum and the Belgian Disability Forum submitted alternative reports to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Both countries are currently being examined by the Committee in charge of reviewing the application of the UN Convention. In the next newsletter we will share the conclusion and recommendations of the Committee. 

Curious to learn about major issues affecting the rights of women with disabilities in these countries? 

Calls and consultations

European Commission 
Council of Europe  

Grant opportunities for women and trans/queer/non-binary human rights defenders 

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 (  



21 October - 8 November (Geneva, Switzerland): 74th session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (including review of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and  Lithuania)

11 - 15 November (Geneva, Switzerland): 76th pre-sessional working group of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (including adoption of List of Issues on Belgium and Switzerland)  

20 November (Brussels, Belgium): Victim Support Europe's Annual Autumn Conference and Gala Dinner 

21 - 24 November (Brussels, Belgium): ILGA's Europe Gathering for D/deaf and disabled LGBTI activists and LGBTI and disability rights activists in Europe and Central Asia

28 - 29 November (Brussels, Belgium): European Day's of Persons with Disabilities


3 December (Bern, Switzerland): Inclusive Development now! The CPRD and its impact on Switzerland’s international cooperation

3 - 10 December (Brussels, Belgium): European Disability and Development Week

4 - 6 December (Brussels, Belgium): Inclusion Europe's training on women empowerment

The European Disability Forum is an independent NGO that represents the interests of 80 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 © 2019 European Disability Forum, All rights reserved.

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Director of publication: Catherine Naughton
Editor: Marine Uldry

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