What is Women Enabled International?

Women Enabled International (WEI) works at the intersection of women's rights and disability rights to advance the rights of women and girls with disabilities around the world. Through advocacy and education, WEI increases international attention to—and strengthens international human rights standards on—issues such as violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and rights, access to justice, education, legal capacity, and humanitarian emergencies. Working in collaboration with women with disabilities rights organizations and women's rights organizations worldwide, WEI fosters cooperation across movements to improve understanding and develop cross-cutting advocacy strategies to realize the rights of all women and girls. The organization's logo is the woman symbol ♀ with the letters 'WE' inside of the circle.

WEI Global Women with Disabilities Rights Advocacy Report
Updated August 9, 2017 Click here for mapping project report


A woman draws a network on a global map.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, originally released on March 8, 2016, International Women's Day.

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Recent News Items

  • August 27, 2017 Women Enabled International, Colectiva Polimorfas, and Profamilia joint Submission to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR Committee) regarding violations of Colombia's obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights  

    Women Enabled International, Colectiva Polimorfas, and Profamilia jointly submit this report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR Committee) regarding violations of Colombia's obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights as they pertain to the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls with disabilities. Women with disabilities in Colombia encounter significant barriers in realizing their economic, social, and cultural (ESC) rights. In particular, Colombia's guardianship law severely limits the ability of women with disabilities to make autonomous decisions about their lives, infringing core ESC rights guaranteed by the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. This submission outlines the harmful effects of Colombia's guardianship law in violation of the government's obligations under the ICESCR. The submission then identifies other areas where Colombian women and girls with disabilities encounter barriers to the realization of their ESC rights, such as sexual and reproductive health, marriage and family life, housing, education , including sexuality education, and employment. The submission concludes with suggested recommendations that this Committee could make to Colombia to provide guidance to the State to ensure that its legislative and policy framework protects, rather than violates, the ESC rights of women and girls with disabilities.
  • August 18, 2017 CEDAW Recognizes Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities at 67th Session

    At the conclusion of the CEDAW Committee’s 67th session, Women Enabled international (WEI) is pleased to inform you about advancements the Committee has made in recognizing the rights of women and girls with disabilities.
    • CEDAW Calls on Nigeria to End Discrimination against Women with Disabilities. During its 67th session, the CEDAW Committee reviewed and issued concluding observations concerning Nigeria’s women’s rights record. These concluding observations contain several references to women and girls with disabilities. For instance, the CEDAW Committee called on Nigeria to adopt the national Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill and the Disability Rights Bill and amend them as needed to ensure they conform with CEDAW. The Committee also noted that women and girls with disabilities face economic and physical barriers to accessing needed social services, including health care, and called on Nigeria to ensure through existing and new innovative programs their access to health care and combat all forms of discrimination against them.

      These concluding observations reflect recommendations made in a shadow letter to the CEDAW Committee from WEI, Advocacy for Women with Disability Initiative, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, and Inclusive Friends Association, all of which work to promote the rights of women and girls with disabilities in Nigeria or worldwide.
    • CEDAW Includes Women with Disabilities in new General Recommendation on GBV. During its 67th session, the CEDAW Committee discussed and adopted an updated general recommendation on gender-based violence, General Recommendation No. 35, which supplements its General Recommendation No. 19 on this topic. The updated general recommendation contains several references to women and girls with disabilities and the particular issues they face in the context of gender-based violence. For instance, the CEDAW Committee classified medical procedures performed on women with disabilities without informed consent as a form of gender-based violence and called on states to repeal any legislation that allows, tolerates, or condones this violence. The Committee further called on states to repeal any laws that deter women from reporting gender-based violence, including “guardianship laws that deprive women of legal capacity or restrict the ability of women with disabilities to testify in court.” The Committee also recommended that states implement accessible protection mechanisms to prevent further or potential violence, including by removing communication barriers for victims with disabilities, and called on states to develop and disseminate accessible information, including to those with disabilities, about legal and social resources available to victims.

      These recommendations reflect comments submitted by WEI and endorsed by 10 other women’s rights organizations in September 2016, available here. WEI commends the CEDAW Committee for these important advancements and looks forward here working with the Committee in the future to ensure the rights of women and girls with disabilities worldwide.

  • August 2, 2017   UN Women Issue Brief "Making the SDGS count for women and girls with disabilities" that highlights key issues for ending poverty (SDG 1), ensuring healthy lives (SDG 3), and mainstreaming disability to achieve gender equality (SDG 5). In this context, it is essential to address barriers in accessing adequate housing, health, education, and employment, as well as gender - related risk factors, including the exposure to violence and harmful practices and the lack of sexual and reproductive health services, in order to ensure full and equal participation of women and girls with disabilities in the 2030 Agenda. See the document at http://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2017/making-sdgs-count-for-women-with-disabilities.pdf

  • 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. Read the full story.

  • 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. Read the full story.

 

View all 2017 news

Archived news from 2011-2016 is available here

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WORK WITH WEI

We've got opportunities posted:

Externally Funded Intl Legal Fellow Fall 2017

International Legal Interns Summer 2017

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WEI accountABILITY Toolkit

Click here for toolkit details


accountABILITY toolkit cover.

In the 21st century, women across the globe continue to experience gender-based discrimination that impedes the full realization of their human rights. WEI’s forthcoming toolkit seeks to empower women with disabilities, working on their behalf to make use of available U.N. mechanisms to ensure that the human rights violations against women with disabilities experience receive redress and to make sure that the U.N. incorporates an intersectional gender and disability rights perspective.

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Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq.,
President and Founder
+1.202.630.3818

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