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EDF Women's Voice Newsletter | Issue 6 | September 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, 

We hope that you had a pleasant and restful summer. 

EDF Women's Voice is back early this month to catch up on the summer holiday. This issue looks back at the July meeting of the United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and share some interesting reports and calls for actions

In need of a grant? Do not hesitate to check the opportunities offered by the Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights and spread the word with your network. 

September will be a busy month for us, with the session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva, the meeting of our women's committee in Latvia, and the new EU parliamentarians being "back to school". 

We would love to hear about what is happening on your side. Do not hesitate to send us your news, events and readings, and we'd be happy to share them. 

Happy September, and happy reading!



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




UN Committee on women rights issues country's recommendations on rights of women with disabilities

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee met this summer to examine the situation of women and girls in several countries. From Europe, the Committee published recommendations on Austria, and sent questions to the government of Latvia and Spain. Recommendations (called 'concluding observations') and questions (called 'liste of issues') are available on the website of the Committee under the 73rd session and 75th pre-session webpages. 

Looking at Austria, the CEDAW Committee noted that women and girls with disabilities, as well as mothers of children with disabilities, continue to face intersectional forms of discrimination, are frequently referred to special employment centres, forced medical treatment, institutionalisation, and are insufficiently protected from gender-based violence.

Striking report on access to health services: women with disabilities even more left behind


Cover of the report

In July, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published a striking report on access to health services for people with disabilities: "The Missing Billion". This report brings together existing knowledge on access to health services for persons with disabilities and provides a human experience perspective, as well as some practical principles and recommendations for action.

Regarding women with disabilities, the report highlights the dual discrimination and significant barriers they face, compared to men with disabilities. Disparities particularly happen in maternal care and family planning. Read the full report here. 

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 (  


Council of Europe's Factsheet on rights of migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls

The Gender Equality Division of the Council of Europe has produced a new Factsheet on protecting the rights of migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls. This is part of the implementation of the Council of Europe's 2018-2023 Gender Equality Strategy which includes a new strategic objective on ensuring that migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women have access to their human and social rights notably in relation to asylum, protection, employment, health, housing, education, legal aid and support structures.

What's missing? An inter-sectional approach including a disability perspective. The Factsheet does not mention women and girls with disabilities, and the additional discrimination and specific barriers they face as migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.  

 Cover of the report


Give your views on EU's external action support in the area of gender equality and women empowerment

On 26th August 2019, the European Commission opened a consultation on EU's external action support in the area of gender equality and women empowerment. The purpose of the evaluation is to provide an independent assessment and evidence on the contribution of EU external action support in the policy area of gender equality and women empowerment (GEWE). Since 2010, the EU has adopted two successive Action Plans on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in external actions (GAP I and GAP II), putting forward the EU's commitment towards Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in all its external actions - and specifically making mentions to women with disabilities. Commitment to gender was also included in the New European Consensus on Development (2017). 

You can find more information on the consultation on the Commission's webpage. Deadline to send your feedback is Monday 23 September

Apply to the 2019 Civil Society Prize on women in economy 

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) launched its 2019 Civil Society Prize on the theme "More women in Europe's society and economy". The 2019 prize, which has a total value of 50 000 €, will reward innovative initiatives carried out by civil society organisations and/or individuals on the territory of the EU which aim to raise awareness of and fight for gender equality in the EU.

The aim of the Civil Society Prize, which is awarded annually, is to reward and encourage tangible initiatives and achievements by civil society organisations and/or individuals that have made a significant contribution to promoting European identity and integration. Its overall objective is to raise awareness of the contribution that civil society organisations and/or individuals can make to the creation of a European identity and citizenship in a way that underpins the common values that shore up European integration.

The deadline for submitting applications is Friday 6 September 2019, 10am (CEST). More information can be found on the EESC's website. 


Reminder: Special Rapporteur on violence against women to visit Bulgaria

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Ms.  Dubravka Šimonović, will undertake an official country visit to Bulgaria from 14 to 21 October 2019.

The Special Rapporteur will address violence against women broadly focusing on both its causes and consequences. In this context, the Special Rapporteur is looking for information on topics related to violence against women in Bulgaria. Submission should be sent to by the 30th of September 2019More information is available on the Special Rapporteur's website.

Calls and consultations

Women and Gender Constituency
European Economic and Social Committee  European Commission 
UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 
UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences



26 August - 20 September: 22nd session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (including review of Albania and Greece, and adoption of List of Issues Prior to Reporting on Ukraine), in Geneva, Switzerland

23 - 27 September23rd pre-sessional working group of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (including adoption of List of Issues on France and Switzerland, and List of Issues Prior to Reporting on Slovakia), in Geneva, Switzerland 


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 

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.

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Director of publication: Catherine Naughton
Editor: Marine Uldry

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