Monthly Archives: August 2013

EU Parliament Draft report on disabled women


2009 – 2014 Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
on women with disabilities
Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
Rapporteur: Angelika Werthmann
See full report ( )

“It is proven that women with disabilities are at greater risk to experience violence than other women; in patriarchy orientated societies the risk increases explicitly. Violence can manifest itself in various forms: forced sexual acts and rape, forced assignment to care facilities, lock up, intrusions in private spheres, forced sterilisation, forced contraception, forced abortion (to name only a few examples).

In general the involvement of people with disabilities and NGOs in the creation of new norms should become standard procedure, because it is the only way to act ‘with’ people with disabilities and not ‘on’ them. Inclusion means to be able to live freely in a society, to contribute to it; it is imperative to maintain and guarantee minimum standards in the areas of citizens’ rights and human rights. Therefore a clear and non-discriminatory definition of disability is fundamental, the use of the definition of the UN-Convention of disabilities is highly recommended.

It is to be stated, that women with disabilities are defined by multiple factors, disability being only one of them; they have to be treated as equal and fully adequate citizens and persons.PE514.581v01-00 10/10 PR\940318EN.doc Quite the opposite happens in the areas of culture and media, concerning the fact that women with disabilities are rarely featured and that such featuring would help to break down mental barriers and limits.

Viewing disability as a deficit is not accurate, but leads to an exclusive way of thinking that should be prevented. Diversity is the base of any modern society; it can and should be aspired. In 2002 38% of the people with a disability (aged 16-34) have earned an income (non-disabled people: 64%), today in 2013 there are still not enough opportunities for women with disabilities to partake in the labour market. It is extremely important to enable every woman with a disability who can work to carry out her plan to gain independence and be able to start her own career.
Due to multiple overlaying discrimination women with disabilities are often in a considerably worse situation than women without disabilities. This kind of unequal treatment has to be banished, especially considering that a combinational discussion of discrimination thematic is essential. A debate on the topic of women with disabilities can and should not be administered
without considering gender mainstreaming and gender equality. Concerning this connection the effects of multiple discrimination are decreased and consciousness is raised. In general a special focus should be placed on the elimination of stereotypes and prejudices to understand
that the development of a culture of difference and diversity leads to great societal advantages.”

Input from Frida’s sisters convinces UN to call for UK action on disabled women


Press report from John Pring, Disability News Service, about Sisters of Frida’s involvement with CEDAW

Among its conclusions, included in a new report on the government’s performance, the CEDAW committee expressed alarm at the high rates of unemployment faced by disabled women, and at the low number of disabled and black and minority ethnic women in parliament and the judiciary.

Eleanor Lisney, SoF’s founder, said it was the first time that disabled women had “actively contributed and participated in the UK shadow report”.

Lisney and fellow SoF member Eleanor Firman travelled to Geneva for CEDAW’s examination of the UK government, with their visit funded partly by the National Union of Journalists and a London trades council.

Lisney told the CEDAW committee during a briefing that the cumulative impact of the UK government’s cuts had affected every area of disabled women’s lives.

She said she had been able to explain to the committee “the urgency and the desperation” felt by disabled women as a result of the austerity regime, and how many of them felt “shell-shocked” by the breadth and depth of the cuts, with some even killing themselves.

Lisney said she had trained and worked on disabled women’s issues around the shadow report for more than three years, work that had led to her founding SoF.

She said she was “quite proud” of SoF’s CEDAW work, and is now hoping to secure funding to collect data on the experiences of some of the hidden groups within the population of disabled women, such as those suffering domestic violence, and black and minority ethnic communities.

She said: “Those speaking for disabled people are concentrating on [cuts and reforms to] disability living allowance, because these are the people who have a voice, but I am thinking of those who don’t.

“These people are not represented in the disability movement, but it is just so important for them to be involved and speak out.

See the rest of the article at The Fed website

Recommendations on disabled women for the UK Govt from CEDAW committee


Read the recommendtations at:

(to follow in its entirety read the CEDAW page.)

Below are all the recommendations that mention disabled women….

20. The Committee is concerned that the austerity measures introduced by the State party have resulted in serious cuts in funding for organisations providing social services to women, including those providing for women only. The Committee is concerned that these cuts have had a negative impact on women with disabilities and older women. ….

21. The Committee urges the State party to mitigate the impact of austerity measures on women and services provided to women, particularly women with disabilities and older women. ….

42. While noting the increase in the representation of women in the public sector, the Committee is concerned that women continue to be significantly underrepresented in certain fields, including in parliament, in the judiciary and on public sector boards. The Committee is particularly concerned at the low representation of black and minority ethnic women and women with disabilities in political life.

43. The Committee calls upon the State party:
(a) Continue to take concrete targeted measures to improve the representation of women in Parliament and the judiciary, particularly black and ethnic minority women and women with disabilities; and….

46. The Committee recalls its previous concluding observations of 2008 (A/63/38, paras. 286 and 287) and appreciates the State party’s efforts to provide flexible working arrangements for women and men, and to introduce shared parental leave envisaging new legislation in 2015. The Committee is concerned at reports of persistent discrimination of pregnant women in employment and their access to justice. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at existing occupational segregation and persisting gender pay gap, and the high unemployment rates of women with disabilities. ……

47. The Committee recommends that the State party should:
(c) Create more opportunities for women with disabilities to access employment; ….
52. The Committee is concerned at reports that women with disabilities, older women, asylum seeking women and Traveller women face obstacles in accessing medical healthcare. The Committee is particularly concerned that women with disabilities face limited accessibility to pre-natal care and reproductive health services.

53. The Committee urges the State party to:
(a) Strengthen the implementation of programmes and policies aimed at providing effective access for women to health-care, particularly to women with disabilities, older women, asylum-seeking and Traveller women;
(b) Pay special attention to the health needs of women with disabilities, ensuring their access to prenatal care and all reproductive health services; and …

54. The Committee recalls its previous concluding observations (A/63/38, paras. 266 and 267) and notes the measures taken to address the recommendations in the Corston report on women in the administration of criminal justice. ….
The Committee is also concerned at women’s limited access to mental health care in prisons, and at the over-representation of black and ethnic minority women in prison.

55. Recalling its previous recommendation, the Committee urges the State party to:
…(c) Improve the provision of mental health care in all prisons;

62. The Committee notes the reforms to the welfare benefit system in order to consolidate benefits and tax credits into a single payment under the Universal Credit system. However, it is concerned that, under the Universal Credit system, benefits and tax credits will be paid into a bank account of one member of the family, which poses risks of financial abuse for women due to power imbalances in the family, particularly if payment is made to an abusive male spouse…

63. The Committee urges the State party to adopt preventive measures against potential exploitation of the Universal Credit system by an abusive male spouse…..(something that we also raised for disabled women)