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
  • 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.




  • 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, 2016 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
  • November 12, 2016 WEI submitted this short report on the rights of girls with disabilities to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for a forthcoming OHCHR report, Protection of the Rights of the Child and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. While addressing the question, "What approaches to implementing the 2030 Agenda would ensure the protection of the rights of all children, and that no child is left behind?," this report examines the disparities that girls with disabilities face in accessing education and exercising the right to health, including sexual and reproductive health. It also notes the higher rates of violence, including gender-based violence, against girls with disabilities, as well as barriers they face in accessing justice and participating in accountability mechanisms. Finally, the report includes recommendations for how states can implement the Sustainable Development Goals in a way that respects, protects, and fulfills the human rights of girls with disabilities.

    WEI OHCHR Submission for Report on Child Rights and 2030 SDG Agenda October 17, 2016 Final.pdf

    WEI OHCHR Submission for Report on Child Rights and 2030 SDG Agenda October 17, 2016 Final.docx

  • November 12, 2016 WEI prepared this short submission on the rights of women and girls with psychosocial disabilities sent to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for a forthcoming OHCHR report on mental health and human rights. Following up on a Human Rights Council resolution on this topic, the OHCHR report will focus on violations of in the context of mental health provision and interpreting legal standards to ensure the respect, protection, and fulfillment of all human rights. WEI's submission focuses on violations faced disproportionately by women and girls with psychosocial disabilities, including forced and coerced reproductive health procedures, gender-based violence, and barriers to accessing justice. It also provides interpretations of relevant articles of the CRPD and other human rights conventions, with recommendations about how states should implement these conventions to tackle human rights abuses against women and girls with psychosocial disabilities.

    WEI OHCHR Mental Health and Human Rights October 31, 2016 FINAL.pdf

    WEI OHCHR Mental Health and Human Rights October 31, 2016 FINAL.docx

  • November 12, 2016   WEI--alongside local partners Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI), Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), and Inclusive Friends Association--submitted a shadow letter to the CEDAW Committee to help the Committee develop a list of issues for its forthcoming review of Nigeria. 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 that stereotypes they do not have sex and cannot become parents are pervasive. The shadow letter concludes with several recommendations for the CEDAW Committee to include when developing the list of issues for its review of Nigeria's women's rights record and for concluding observations following the review in July 2017.

    WEI and Nigeria Partners, CEDAW LOI Submission Women with Disabilities October 14, 2016 FINAL.docx

    WEI and Nigeria Partners, CEDAW LOI Submission Women with Disabilities October 14, 2016 FINAL.pdf

  • New Book! The first time 17-year-old Nujeen Mustafa saw the sea, she and her wheelchair were hauled on to an overcrowded dinghy headed for Europe. Growing up in the Syrian cities of Manbij and Aleppo, Mustafa – who was born with cerebral palsy – rarely left the house. Last September, Mustafa traveled 3,500 miles across hostile borders and perilous seas to Germany in a wheelchair, with the help of her sister. She describes the odyssey in a new book “Nujeen: One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair,” co-authored by veteran British journalist Christina Lamb. A year after her journey, Mustafa lives outside Cologne, Germany, with two of her sisters and four nieces. In Syria, she was largely self-taught and learned English by watching American soap opera “Days of our Lives.” She now attends a school for people with disabilities and has learned German. Meanwhile, Mustafa is still waiting for documents to allow her to stay in Germany and apply for her parents to join her from Turkey.

    a photo of the Nujeen book cover
    Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair
    by Nujeen Mustafa and Christina Lamb
  • October 2016

    WEI Statement on Women's Rights & Disability Rights at "A Rights-Based Approach to Zika: Putting Women and Girls at the Center of the Global Response," organized by the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Anis - Instituto de Bioetica, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), and Promundo-US, in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, Held on Thursday, September 29


View more 2016 news

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We've got opportunities posted:

Development Director posted March 2017

New! Social Media & Press Intern Summer/Fall 2017

Externally Funded Intl Legal Fellow Fall 2017

International Legal Interns Summer 2017



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