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EDF Women's Voice Newsletter | Issue 7 | October 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, 

Today is the international day of older people and, at this occasion, we are delighted to share with you a report on older women with disabilities prepared by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities.

To learn more about older people at EU level, we encourage you to consult the website of AGE Platform, the organisation representing the voice of older persons in Europe. 

This month, we also share other interesting reports and inform you of the recommendations adopted by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last month, as well as, of meetings and conferences on women with disabilities BY women with disabilities.

As usual, do not forget to check our calls and calendar sections at the end of the newsletter - and send us your own events to add in the next issues.

Greetings from rainy Brussels, 



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






Older women with disabilities more marginalised than others, says Special Rapporteur on disability rights 

In a report published in September, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities highlights that older women with disabilities have consistently worse life prospects and outcomes than older women without disabilities and older men with disabilities. They are considerably poorer; are likely to be subject to violence, abuse and neglect; and have higher chances of facing unmet needs and human rights violations. In addition, they are more likely to be institutionalized or incapacitated owing to the higher life expectancy of women compared with men. Read the full report online.

New UN Women publication addresses how to end sexual harassment

In September UN Women launched a publication to support the fight against end sexual harassment, entitled “What will it take? Promoting cultural change to end sexual harassment”. The publication focuses on the influence of beliefs on actions and offers guidance to policymakers, employers and universities on how to achieve cultural change and address this scourge making sure that the needs of the victims and survivors are at the heart of all efforts.

The report includes a disability perspective, showing that women with disabilities may be more subjected to harassment. For instance, in 2016 in New Zealand, 89% of women experienced sexual harassment during tertiary education, and 90% of those with disability. Read the full report online. 

UN Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopts recommendations on Albania and Greece

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) met in September to examine the situation of persons with disabilities in several countries. From Europe, the Committee published recommendations on Albania and Greece. They specifically address women and girls with disabilities under article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  

Looking at both countries, the Committee recommended that they adopt strong laws and policies protecting the rights of women and girls with disabilities, including against all forms of discrimination and gender-based violence. You can find all recommendations (called 'concluding observations') on the website of the CRPD Committee

Read about issues faced by women with disabilities in the field of work

Women Enabled International sent a submission to the United Nations Working Group on the issue of Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice on the rights of women with disabilities in the world of work. 

This submission addresses the barriers and exclusion faced by women with disabilities to realising their right to work. It outlines very well key rights violations, including the lack of data collection and research, and offers recommendations with the aim to inform the Working Group’s forthcoming report on Women's Human Rights in the Changing World of Work. Read more on the website of Women Enabled International. 


EDF Women’s Committee met in Riga, Latvia 


Room full of members of EDF Women's Committee, the Chair, Ana, speaking

On 12th and 13th September, the Women’s Committee of the European Disability Forum met in Riga, Latvia – thanks for our wonderful co-organiser and host, SUSTENTO, the national umbrella organisations in Latvia, and EDF General Secretary, Gunta Anca. The Committee meeting started by a round of updates at national level, and a training on the CEDAW Convention conducted by the Chair of the Committee, Ana Pelaez.

On Friday, the committee received updates from developments at EU and UN levels (including UN review, Istanbul Convention, Beijing +25, the new European Commission) and a presentation from Aoife Price, EDF early stage DARE researcher, on her research on linkage between disability and women’s rights movement. The Committee also reviewed in details its activities planned for 2019 and started discussing activities for 2020. Among them, communication around key dates, the preparation of written guidelines on engagement with the CEDAW Committee and a mapping of organisation of women and girls with disabilities in Europe (see below).

Help us mapping organisations of women with disabilities in Europe 

EDF is currently mapping organisations of women with disabilities in Europe. It is an initiative of our Women’s Committee to strengthen our network across Europe. Please help us by sending us the name and contact of organisations of women with disabilities, or women’s committee within organisations of persons with disabilities, in European countries. You can contact directly Marine Uldry ( until 18th of October.


Latvia: Conference on issues related to women and girls with disabilities

Conference room with participants- EDF and SUSTENTO logo on the screen
On Thursday 12th September, the Latvian Umbrella Body for Disability Organisations, SUSTENTO, organised a conference with EDF on issues related to women with disabilities. The conference was well attended and included a variety of speakers discussing sexual and reproductive health, and violence faced by women and girls with disabilities. Such conferences are flourishing across Europe. They are an excellent way to engage many stakeholders in the discussion on the rights of women and girls with disabilities. 

Calls and consultations

Inclusion Europe  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 (  



1 - 2 October: Inspire Partnership's Annual Conference, in Athens, Greece

21 October - 8 November74th session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (including review of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and  Lithuania), in Geneva, Switzerland  

28 OctoberBeijing+25 Regional Review Meeting, Civil Society Forum, in Geneva, Switzerland


11 - 15 November76th 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), in Geneva, Switzerland  

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

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

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

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Copyright © 2019 European Disability Forum, All rights reserved.

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Director of publication: Catherine Naughton
Editor: 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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