EWL News

International conference addresses challenges of women with disabilities

[Brussels, 29 June 2012] The EWL and its member organisation, the European Disability Forum (EDF), are this week in Madrid for the first international conference in Europe focusing specifically on women with disabilities since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2006.

EWL Secretary General Cécile Gréboval and EWL Board member for EDF, Ana Peláez, are speaking at the conference organised by the Spanish Disability movement.

“Women face multiple forms of discrimination; they are at the intersection of gender and disability, which causes even more disadvantages and discrimination”, stresses Ana Peláez, EDF Executive Member, and EDF Women’s Committee Chair.

Hosted by the Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities (CERMI), the three-day conference is taking place at the Spanish National Organisation of the Blind (ONCE) Sports and Culture Centre in Madrid. This major international event brings together around 300 disability and gender experts from the disability movement, the political sphere, civil society and academia, among other fields. The discussions focus on women with disabilities in UN human rights treaties, their sexual and reproductive rights, violence against women and girls with disabilities and mainstreaming gender in the CRPD.

The conference was opened on Wednesday 27 June by:

  • Yannis Vardakastanis, EDF President,
  • Luis Cayo Pérez Bueno, CERMI President,
  • Diane Richler, International Disability Alliance Chairperson,
  • Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission,
  • Michelle Bachelet, Chief of the Secretariat for the UN CRPD.

In his opening speech, EDF President Yannis Vardakastanis said: “The inclusion of women and girls with disabilities has been a key issue for the disability movement. The UN Convention has brought a new perspective and a new spirit that also as organisations of persons with disabilities we must embrace, by changing our own policies, revising our advocacy agenda and improving the way we work. This conference comes at a timely moment and will certainly inspire our future work.”

More details and background are available on the EDF website: http://www.edf-feph.org/Page_Generale.asp?DocID=13855&thebloc=30430

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