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EDF Women's Voice Newsletter | Issue 17 | September 2020
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, friends and colleagues, 

We hope that you had some safe and relaxing days off this summer. As it is a year like no other, it felt like many things continued to happen during the holidays. Days have flown by fast.

In this edition, we summarise key points relevant to women and girls with disabilities from the last months: important publications, work of the CRPD and CEDAW Committee, and consultations from the European Commission. We also invite you to our online training on engaging with the CEDAW Committee on 25th of September. Mark your calendar! 

Our thematic articles introduced in May will be back next month. In October, we will discuss women and forced treatment in psychiatry, and in November various forms of violence faced by women and girls with disabilities. 

Instead this month, we share with you a blog post from the newly bog #DisabilityRealities on EDF's website

Warm regards, 

Marine Uldry 

European Disability Forum | nothing about us without us -

NB. Correction and update of our article on "Disability, Gender and Police Brutality" (July 2020): contrary to what we wrote in the article, Odile Maurin informed us that none of the police officers at the manifestation were injured by her or her wheelchair. She appealed against the judgment (sentence of 2 months suspended prison sentence and one year ban on demonstrations) and is currently waiting to receive the date of the hearing.



Summer publications 

Gender equality: Women’s rights in review 25 years after Beijing

The world just celebrated the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action - an agenda to advance women's rights all over the world. In this context, UN Women published a report on progress, gaps, and challenges related to the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights.

The report contains information on the situation of women and girls with disabilities: 
  • "There are 600 million women with disabilities in the world, but many disability rights organisations do not pay attention to the gender dimensions, and many women’s organisations don’t include women with disabilities." 
  • A large share of young women with disabilities is not in education or employment. This ranges from 23% in Kenya to 83% in Indonesia. 
Read the full publication here.

Sexual harassment against women with disabilities in the world of work and on campus

Work remains to be done to ensure that the links between gender and disability feature more routinely in efforts to end sexual harassment. Common approaches to disability rights, women’s rights, and gender equality have yet to place centrally the lives of women and girls with disabilities.

UN women published a discussion paper that contributes to the development of intersectional approaches for addressing sexual harassment as it manifests in the lives of women with disabilities. It also offers advice and support for policy makers to address the urgency of:
  • strengthening efforts to end discrimination against women in the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities; and
  • centring disability rights and community knowledge in work to end discrimination against women.
Read the full publication here.

COVID-19 and women with disabilities 

Global: Australia: United Kingdom:

CEDAW and CRPD Committees held virtual sessions 

Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, the two United Nations Committees on women's rights and on disability rights met virtually in August and September. All reviews that involved dialogue with the States were postponed. 

Key take-away
  • CRPD Committee established a working group to support deinstitutionalisation.
  • CRPD Committee continued working on its general comments on work and employment. A day of general discussion on the topic will take place at its next session. 
  • CEDAW Committee adopted list of issues prior to reporting on Norway, Slovakia and Slovenia
  • CEDAW Committee adopted a joint statement on ending sexual harassment against women and girls with disabilities initiated by UN Women. 
  • CEDAW Committee declared inadmissible a complaint on the death of a woman with disabilities killed by her husband in Moldova because of procedural reason (domestic remedies not exhausted and status of the author of the complaint) 
Next sessions and countries for review

Why and how to engage with the CEDAW Committee?

Ever wondered how the CEDAW Committee works, and why you should engaged? Why it is actually important to contribute to the work of the Committee to advance the rights of women and girls with disabilities?

Meeting room of CEDAW Committee full of participants

This month, EDF explains you e
verything! On 25th of September, we organise an online training on reporting to the CEDAW Committee, with Committee's member Ana Peláez Narváez, and organisations that previously reported on CEDAW. The same day, we will launch a practical guide on engaging with the CEDAW Committee, for organisations of persons and women with disabilities (but relevant to all). 

You can already register here for our webinar.


European Commission is evaluating legislation to combat violence against women 

Aware that violence against women remains common in all EU countries and even increased with the COVID-19 pandemic and during lockdown measures, the European Commission is evaluating what more can be done to end violence. During the summer, it conducted a consultation  on its proposal to asses current EU legislation, EU measures and their compliance with international law; as well as assessing whether greater protection is needed. 

For us, with women and girls with disabilities being two to five times more likely to face violence than other women, much more must be done. We called on the European Commission to particularly examine the specific gaps faced by women and girls with disabilities victims of violence in its "fitness check". Read our full recommendations here.

Another consultation should be organised later this year, to which EDF will input on the state of violence against women and girls with disabilities in the EU. Any information or report that you have on the situation at national level is welcome. Please send them to

We are looking for personal testimonies for our report on COVID-19 

In the 2020 EDF Human Rights Report on COVID-19, EDF would like to show the diversity of direct experiences of persons with disabilities that are part of various socially disadvantaged groups. We are therefore collecting personal testimonies from around Europe. We are looking for people who, due to COVID-19, faced a situation whereby they were discriminated based on being a person with a disability and being a woman, an older person, a child or a parent of a child with disabilities, an LGBTIQ+ person, an asylum seeker or a migrant, or belonging to an ethnic or religious minority.

We are gathering these personal testimonies through an online survey. Although the questionnaire is in English, the testimonies can be written in your own language

Calls and consultations

European Commission 
Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
European Disability Forum

Mobile Film Festival - Women’s Empowerment

UN Women and the Generation Equality campaign have partnered up for the 16th edition of the Mobile Film Festival, a festival with a unique and accessible format of 1 Mobile, 1 Minute, 1 Film. This feminist edition’s theme is on Women’s Empowerment and the call for films is open until October 20th 2020 and includes 2 grants of 20.000 euros each to produce a film. More information can be found online:

The Equality Fund’s first global Call for Applications

The Equality Fund is now open to women’s rights and feminist organisations from September 10th to October 5th, 2020

The Equality Fund welcomes applications for direct funding under their ‘Catalyze’ program from groups led by women, girls, and non-binary people at the forefront of change, resisting against rights violations, addressing the impacts of COVID-19, and driving solutions to achieve gender equality.

Visit the Equality Fund’s website to learn more, including eligibility requirements, and get started on the application process.

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 (  

2020 Calendar


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 © 2020 European Disability Forum, All rights reserved.

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Director of publication: Marine Uldry
Editor: Naomi Mabita 
Contributors: Naomi Mabita, Madeline Escourt, Sarah Hull 

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.
Should you wish to make any contribution or notify any e-mail address modification, please do not hesitate to contact: Marine Uldry |