Women’s Committee

What is the Women's Committee?

The Women’s Committee’s role is to mainstream gender in all EDF policies and documents, to raise awareness on the situation of women and girls with disabilities and to work towards the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in society in accordance with the Madrid Declaration on women and girls with disabilities adopted in November 2008.

The Women’s Committee ensures that EDF's work towards the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) level takes into account the perspective of women and girls with disabilities.

How is it organised?

EDF Committee on Women with Disabilities has 10 members coming from all over Europe and representing different groups of persons with disabilities. A new committee is elected every four years. The next elections will take place at EDF's General Assembly in 2017.

The Committee meets once a year and has a timetable of actions and shared responsibilities among its members. In the past years, the Women's Committee met in Madrid, Riga and Athens and participated in conferences on women with disabilities organised by EDF member organisations.

What is the Committee working on?

The Women's Committee also supports EDF's participation in the European Women’s Lobby (EWL). EDF is a member of EWL since 2000 and has a place in their Board.

In 2018, Women's Committee member Pirkko Mahlamäki was elected to the Executive Committee of the European Women's Lobby. The Women's Committee members also represent EDF as speakers and delegates to conferences and participate in many events and meetings both at the national, European and international level.

Campaign on ending forced sterilisation against women and girls with disabilities

EDFs Women's Committee has been working since 2015 in a campaign that calls for ending forced sterilisation against women and girls with disabilities. Women and girls with disabilities in Europe continue to be deprived of many of their human rights, including being sterilised against their consent or knowledge, depriving them from their dignity and power over their sexual and reproductive rights.

CERMI Women’s Foundation and the European Disability Forum (EDF) published a comprehensive report on ending forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities It explains the myths behind forced sterilisation and the negative consequences of forced sterilisation on the enjoyment of all human rights for all women and girls with disabilities. It highlights the close relationship between this practice and the deprivation of legal capacity, and describes the current situation in Europe and beyond. Finally, it gives an overview of the current human rights standards and jurisprudence on the topic.

On 5 December 2017, EDF held and hearing aiming to raise awareness on ending forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities and call for the prohibition of all forms of violence against women.The event was co-hosted by MEP Soraya Post (Swedish Feminist Initiative, S&D Group) and EDF Vice-President, Ana Peláez Narváez in the European Parliament in Brussels.

EDF Vice President, Ana Pelaez, presented EDF and CERMI Women’s Foundation report on ‘ending forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities’

Istanbul Convention

The Committee is currently actively promoting the EU’s accession to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) as a step to combating violence against women and girls with disabilities.

We are supporting European Women's Lobby petition "Rise up against violence!" calling for the EU to ratify the Istanbul Convention.

Publications

We supported the European Economic and Social Committee's drafting of the "opinion on the situation of women with disabilities"

Read important reports, manifesto and position papers produced by the Women's Committee below

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