On Day 3 (July 17th), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women considered the seventh periodic report of the United Kingdom on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
This is the day we were building towards with the oral presentations, lunch presentations – we gave the CEDAW committee our concerns to help them formulate questions to the those representing the UK government – the panel was led by Helene Reardon-Bond, Director of Policy, Government Equalities Office. The delegation of the United Kingdom in the room included representatives of the Government Equalities Office, the Home Office, the Department of Health, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations at Geneva, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.
Joining the discussion from London via video-conference were representatives from the Treasury Solicitors, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Health, the Home Office, the Department for Communities and Local Governments, the Department for International Development, the Ministry of Defence, the Treasury, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.
It was a very long day from 10 am – 5pm with a break for lunch. The exchange of questions and responses do not have any input from NGOs but we did make some responses for example when Helene Reardon-Bond said there’s no evidence whatsoever to show that women are disproportionately affected by austerity measures – it was greeted with derisive laughter.
Some of the questions raised about or on issues impacting specifically on disabled women were:
– question on disabled women in politics (response given was on the available funding provided for by Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund and stats on people who had been awarded broken by gender difference – I didnt jot down the numbers in time)
– question on lack of employment opportunities for disabled women (response given was on the Disability Employment Strategy ? and how more funding would be given to Access to Work to help disabled get into and stay in employment)
– question about Universal Credit and how it could affect the dependence of women in domestic abuse (response was that payment exceptions may be possible, including the splitting of payments in specific situations of potential abuse. )
The last response might also apply, where disabled people are concerned, to carers of family situations?
Of course questions pertaining to access to justice, Legal Aid, residence requirements, domenstic violence have also relevance to disabled women in that disability intersects across gender issues.
When the meeting was over we had to write a series of recommendations for the CEDAW committee to consider. We went off to do them according to our own expertise areas – we were to focus on the topics discussed unless there was some burning issues which were left out – these can be incorporated into the mentioned areas.
Read also When cuts cost lives: women’s economic independence and domestic violence (Scarlet Harris, Touchstone Blog)
thank you Charlotte Gage for links