What is Women Enabled International?

Women Enabled International advocates and educates for the human rights of all women and girls, with an emphasis on women and girls with disabilities, and works tirelessly to include women and girls with disabilities in international resolutions, policies and programs addressing women's human rights and development. The organization's logo is the woman symbol ♀ with the letters 'WE' inside of the circle.

WEI Reports from CSW61

13–24 March 2017, New York City

Women Enabled International is pleased to share our notes from CSW61. This section will be updated with reports, photos and video after the event concludes.

Visit the WEI CSW61 page

WEI accountABILITY Toolkit to be Published in Summer 2017accountABILITY toolkit cover.

Published December 2016


In the 21st century, women across the globe continue to experience gender-based discrimination that impedes the full realization of their human rights.

Women Enabled International’s soon-to-be-released toolkit seeks to empower women with disabilities and organizations, working on their behalf to make use of available U.N. human rights mechanisms to ensure that the human rights violations women with disabilities experience receive redress and to make sure that statements, recommendations, observations, and guidance from the U.N. incorporate an intersectional gender and disability rights perspective.

Click here for information on this exciting project

WEI Global Women with Disabilities Rights Advocacy Report
Published March 8, 2016. Last Updated January 14, 2017


A woman draws a network on a global map.Women Enabled International (WEI) received generous funding from an anonymous donor for a Survey Project to foster a greater understanding of human rights advocacy for the rights of women and girls with disabilities, by disabled women ourselves and within the women's rights and disability rights movements,. Through an online survey and interviews, WEI produces this comprehensive report of the field of advocates for the rights of women and girls with disabilities globally and nationally, released on March 8, 2016, International Women's Day.

Click here for project details and mapping project report.


Recent News Items
  • July 18, 2017 Women Enabled International Submission to the CRPD Committee on Its Draft General Comment No. 5 on CRPD Article 19 on the right to live independently and be included in the community, July 7, 2017.


    On July 7, 2017, Women Enabled International (WEI) provided comments about gender-based violence and independent living to the CRPD Committee on its Draft General Comment No. 5 on the right to live independently and be included in the community under CRPD Article 19. Women and girls with disabilities are more likely than men with disabilities and other women to experience gender-based violence, which can isolate them and increase the barriers they experience to exercising their right to independent living. In particular, women with disabilities who are subjected to domestic violence are frequently more dependent on their abusers for daily life activities and find that social services, including shelters, intended for victims of domestic violence are inaccessible to them because of their disability. Furthermore, women with disabilities living in institutions are at increased risk of gender-based violence because they are separated from the community and denied the right to independent living, a situation that requires specific monitoring and support for women with disabilities. Through this submission, WEI recommends specific changes to the CRPD Committee's Draft General Comment to better address these issues.


    Read the submission here:
    WEI Submission to CRPD Committee Draft GC5 on CRPD Article 19 the right to independent living and inclusion in the community July 7 2017 FINAL.pdf

    WEI Submission to CRPD Committee Draft GC5 on CRPD Article 19 the right to independent living and inclusion in the community July 7 2017 FINAL.docx

  • July 18, 2017   WEI and Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI), Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), and Inclusive Friends Association, Submission to the CEDAW Committee’s Review of Nigeria, June 12, 2017.


    Women Enabled International (WEI), alongside local partners Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI), Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), and Inclusive Friends Association--submitted an updated shadow letter to the CEDAW Committee for its forthcoming review of Nigeria in July 2017. The letter highlights that, because of their disability and their gender, women and girls with disabilities in Nigeria face multiple layers of discrimination and stereotypes about their capabilities that mean they are given less priority in families, have less access to education, and are considered less eligible for marriage or to found families. Additionally, women and girls with disabilities are subjected to violence--particularly sexual violence--at higher rates, and in Nigeria's conflict zones, they are frequently left behind when violence comes to their communities, with little access to justice or services. Finally, women with disabilities find that sexual and reproductive health information and services, including those to prevent and address HIV, are not accessible to them and stereotypes that they do not have sex and cannot become parents are pervasive. The shadow letter concludes with several recommendations for the CEDAW Committee to include in its concluding observations to Nigeria following the July 2017 review.


    Read the shadow letter here:
    WEI and Nigeria Partners CEDAW Review Submission June 12 2017.pdf

    WEI and Nigeria Partners CEDAW Review Submission June 12 2017.docx

  • icon of an event flyer with a photo of a UN session underwayJune 9, 2017 COSP Side Event: Electing Women with Disabilities: Why and How to Ensure a Gender- and Regionally-Balanced CRPD Committee

    The Permanent Missions of Ecuador and Germany to the United Nations invite you to a Side Event during the 10th Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Women, Women Enabled International and the International Disability Alliance

    Wednesday, 14 June 2017 at 13:15–14:30
    Conference Room 7, UN Headquarters, New York, NY

    For further information, please contact: Amanda McRae at a.mcrae@womenenabled.org

     

    Download and share the event flyer:

    COSP10-Side-Event-CRPD-Gender-Regional-Balance-Flyer.docx

    COSP10-Side-Event-CRPD-Gender-Regional-Balance-Flyer.pdf

     

  • June 8, 2017 COSP Side Event: Electing Women with Disabilities to the CRPD Committee: A Discussion and Strategy Session

    icon of a flyer listing event details with a graphic depicting an unbalanced committee

    Women Enabled International and UN Women cordially invite you to attend an evening side event to the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD


    Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 6:15-8:00pm
    Conference Room 11, UN Headquarters, New York, NY

    • Prior to this election, the CRPD Committee had six female members and twelve male members. As a result of the recent elections, as of January 1, 2017, seventeen of the eighteen members of the CRPD Committee are men, and only one is a woman. As such, the CRPD Committee is the second most gender-imbalanced treaty monitoring body, with 94% male membership…
    • UN agencies have also emphasized the importance of ensuring that women, including women with disabilities, are represented on treaty monitoring bodies and in other UN institutions.
    • In its General Recommendation No. 23 on women in political and public life, the CEDAW Committee recognizes that women face many barriers to participating in political and public life, including restrictions on movement, negative attitudes about their political participation, and lack of confidence and support for female candidates in the electorate.
    • On April 12, 2017, the CRPD Committee adopted a statement on achieving gender balance amongst its members. Although the Committee recognizes that the 2016 elections helped achieve greater disability diversity, it expressed concern about the “absence of gender parity,” noting that equality between men and women is one of the principles of the CRPD.

    Read the memo prepared by WEI:

    WEI CRPD Committee Election - Where Are the Women - Need for Gender Balance June 5, 2017.docx

    WEI CRPD Committee Election - Where Are the Women - Need for Gender Balance June 5, 2017.pdf

     

    Download and share the event flyer:

    CSP10-WEI-Concept-Note-Strategy-2017.docx

    CSP10-WEI-Concept-Note-Strategy-2017.pdf

     

  • May 1, 2017 WEI Submission to OHCHR on Access to Justice for Women and Girls with Disabilities  

    This submission provides guidance on the rights of women and girls to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for its forthcoming report to the Human Rights Council on Article 13 (access to justice) of the U.N Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Because women and girls with disabilities are subjected to gender-based violence, including unique forms of violence such as forced sterilization or abortion, experience violence at higher rates than other women, access to justice following this is especially important for ensuring their rights. Women and girls with disabilities, however, also face myriad barriers to accessing justice due to both their gender and disability. These include legal barriers, as courts may not recognize them as competent witnesses or the justice system may not recognize the violence committed against them as crimes. They also include accessibility barriers, including physical, informational, and communications accessibility. Women and girls with disabilities may also face attitudinal barriers to accessing justice, including as the result of stereotypes about their sexuality and ability to parent. Finally, women and girls with disabilities may be less likely to afford attorneys or court costs, or may suffer more directly from cuts to social services that support access to justice. Based on these barriers, Women Enabled International provides recommendations to OHCHR for information and recommendations to include in its report.
    WEI Submission to OHCHR Report on CRPD Article 13 Access to Justice & Women with Disabilities May 1, 2017 FINAL.pdf

    WEI Submission to OHCHR Report on CRPD Article 13 Access to Justice & Women with Disabilities May 1, 2017 FINAL.docx
  • April 21, 2017 Click here to read the article on the importance of fundraising.WHY FUND THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES?

    Leading advocates and women's rights donors agree that much more can and needs to be done to include women with disabilities in women's rights activism, agenda setting, and funding. This brief explores funding at the intersection of women's rights and disability rights and offers steps donors can take to ensure that their grantmaking is more incusive of women with disabilities and to support this emerging movement.

    Women Enabled International's groundbreaking Mapping Project is an important tool in fundraising efforts.

    Read a PDF of this article written by Philanthropy for Women's Human Rights.



  • April 14, 2017 Women Enabled International Guide to CRPD General Comment No. 3: Women and Girls with Disabilities

    This guide to General Comment No. 3 on women and girls with disabilities (GC3) from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) attempts to pull together  the information contained in disparate parts of GC3 on the major themes it covers, including gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and access to justice. This guide also brings together the recommendations that the CRPD Committee makes in GC3 about eliminating discrimination and stereotypes and ensuring equality for women and girls with disabilities.

    This guide is divided into six sections:
     
    · Discrimination, Equality, and the Content of Article 6;
    · Respect, Protect, Fulfill Framework;
    · Stereotypes;
    · Gender-based Violence;
    · Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR); and
    · Access to Justice.
     
    These are the major themes covered by GC3. However, GC3 also addresses other issues, including legal capacity, employment, public participation, and education, among others. The charts below include these issues as they are relevant to the themes above, but GC3 may also contain additional information on these topics and should be directly consulted as needed.

    WEI Guide to CRPD General Comment No 3 on Women UPDATED FINAL GC TEXT April 2017.pdf


    WEI Guide to CRPD General Comment No 3 on Women UPDATED FINAL GC TEXT April 2017.docx

accountABILITY toolkit cover.

WEI Annual Report Now Available

Published February 2017

Women Enabled International is pleased to release our 2016 Annual Report highlighting the accomplishments we've made this year.

 

  • January 30, 2017 Women Enabled International Submission to the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings on Domestic Violence and Infanticide Regarding Women and Girls with Disabilities.

     

    On January 30, 2017, WEI responded to a call for submissions by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Killing to support the Special Rapporteur’s efforts to incorporate a gender-sensitive approach to extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary killing into her work. WEI’s submission provides information on the high rates of domestic violence that women and girls with disabilities face, and the lack of access to justice—factors that can elevate the risk of domestic violence escalating and leading to arbitrary killing. The submission also identifies factors that contribute to heightened rates of infanticide of children, and especially girls, with disabilities. The submission urges the Special Rapporteur to consider how different characteristics, such as disability, intersect with gender to expose women and girls to a heightened risk of arbitrary killings. The submission also identifies core state obligations to address the underlying factors that contribute to a heightened risk of women and girls with disabilities to arbitrary killings, including stigma, a lack of support for individuals with disabilities and their families, and issues surrounding access to protective and rehabilitative services and justice mechanisms for victims of gender-based violence with disabilities. The submission also highlights the challenges presented by the lack of disaggregated data on violence, femicide, and infanticide directed at women and girls with disabilities.

    WEI-Submission-to-SR-EJEs-on-Domestic-Violence-and-Infanticide-Women-and-Girls-with-Disabilities-January-30-2017-Final.pdf

     

    WEI-Submission-to-SR-EJEs-on-Domestic-Violence-and-Infanticide-Women-and-Girls-with-Disabilities-January-30-2017-Final.docx

  • January 30, 2017 WEI submitted comments to the UN CEDAW Committee on the CEDAW Committee’s Draft General Recommendation addressing gender-related dimensions in disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the face of a changing climate. WEI’s submission, which was endorsed by 10 other non-governmental organizations from around the world, identifies unique barriers that women with disabilities face in the context of natural disasters. WEI then makes specific suggestions on how the CEDAW Committee could edit draft General Recommendation to better address the specific barriers that women with disabilities encounter in emergency settings.

    General Recommendation on the gender-related dimensions of disaster risk reduction in a changing climate – Implications for Women with Disabilities, January 30, 2017.pdf

     

    General Recommendation on the gender-related dimensions of disaster risk reduction in a changing climate – Implications for Women with Disabilities, January 30, 2017.docx

    This submission was endorsed by: Advocacy for Women with Disability Initiative (Nigeria); Agate Center for Women with Special Needs (Armenia); Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) (Nigeria); National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda (NUWODU); Programa de Acción por la Igualdad y la Inclusión Social (PAIIS) (Colombia); Samarthyam - Women with Disabilities Forum for Action (India); Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre (India);  Sisters of Frida (UK); Magdalena Szarota, Doctoral Research Student, Centre for Disability Research, Lancaster University and Co-Founder, Association of Disabled Women ONE.pl (Poland); and Women with Disabilities India Network (WWDIN).

  • January 2017 WEI and UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Standards and Implementation Tool in Development

    UNFPA engaged Women Enabled International (WEI) to research and draft the Standards and Implementation Tool to provide guidance for key stakeholders on the provision of quality, human rights-based sexual and reproductive health services and gender-based violence services for women and young people with disabilities.

    The purpose of the Tool is to provide practical and concrete guidance to key stakeholders who develop and implement programs, policies, and laws around access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and gender-based violence, with a particular focus on service providers, to ensure that such efforts conform with State’s human rights obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of women and young people with disabilities in these crucial areas.  

    Click here for the UNFPA/WEI Standards and Implementation Tool project page


  • January 13, 2017 WEI President Stephanie Ortoleva was an invited expert to the Expert Group Meeting Women with Disabilities - Development & Society Santiago de Chile 11-2016 The Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) of DESA co-organized with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC) in Santiago de Chile, Chile, an Expert Group Meeting under the theme “Advancing the rights and perspectives of women and girls with disabilities in development and society” from 15-17 November 2016. The meeting included experts from around the world including those with experience in: disability, women’s rights, gender equality and empowerment of women, social and economic development, and research. Stephanie Ortoleva was one of the invited participants and she made a presentation entitled “Accountability - responding to Disabled Women’s Needs, disasters & humanitarian crises” (see below for presentation). The meeting resulted in a set of recommendations to support operationalization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and other internationally agreed goals, in a way that is inclusive of and responsive to the needs and perspectives of women and girls with disabilities. The meeting also will contribute towards a Secretary-General Report on the situation of women and girls with disabilities.

    For documents relating to the EGM as well as the forthcoming EGM Outcome Document, see: https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/about-us/expert-group-meetings/egm2016_women_chile.html

    Download the presentation in PowerPoint pptx format: Accountability- Experiences in Responding to Specific Needs of Women & Girls with Disabilities in Disasters & Humanitarian Crises: A Human Rights Based Approach

    Download the presentation in PDF format

 

View more 2017 news

Archived news from 2011-2016 is available here

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Externally Funded Intl Legal Fellow Fall 2017

International Legal Interns Summer 2017

 


 

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