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UK CEDAW Working Group submission to CRPD general discussion on women and girls with disabilities

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has announced that it will be holding a half day of general discussion on women and girls with disabilities at its upcoming session in April 2013. The discussion will take place on 17 April from 12 – 6pm. The Committee welcomes written submissions from civil society, particularly from DPOs, on strengthening the protection of human rights of women and girls with disabilities. Submissions should not exceed 10 pages and should be sent in word format no later than 17 February 2013 to [email protected]. For further details please visit the Committee’s website where information is available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese.

(the deadline has been extended to 31st March)

Below is a submission from the UK CEDAW Working Group on behalf of Sisters of Frida for the CRPD general discussion on women and girls with disabilities on April 17th 2013. (with thanks to Charlotte Gage for getting it out in time)

Introduction

Most States lack a specific and comprehensive law, policy or programme on persons with disabilities in general or on women with disabilities in particular. States that do have a disability law often do not specifically address the rights of women with disabilities. States may also have a specific law on violence against women that generally provides remedies for all women, within a non-discriminatory framework, but unfortunately, such laws are not effectively implemented in respect of women with disabilities. Very few States have established dedicated institutional mechanisms, programmes or strategies such as national committees or councils on women and disabilities.The United Kingdom (UK) is no exception.

The UK says that it uses the social model of disability which recognises that disability arises from society’s negative responses to us, inaccessible environments, discrimination and disablism. However, the UK definition of disability is not compliant with the CRPD. Disability is not an inevitable consequence of impairments and equality is possible and can be achieved through removing the barriers to social inclusion. This report demonstrates that the statistics fail to recognise that disabled people are not a homogenous group and include disabled women as well as men. This is partly due to a general lack of data disaggregated from a gender and disability perspective. Disabled women’s needs are often excluded in the mainstream Disability Movement as well as the Women’s Movement, and wider government policy, which explains the lack of both qualitative and quantitative data specifically about disabled women in all the areas discussed below. Disabled women often remain invisible in mainstream legislation/policy for women and disabled women’s issues are still under-researched, and their concerns are overlooked….

Download the whole report (MS Word doc):

 UK CEDAW Working Group submission_disabled women_2013

note: We would like to acknowledge contributions to this report from Armineh Soorenian, Debbie Jolly, Eleanor Firman, Ellen Clifford, and Eleanor Lisney

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