In August 2020, WEI partnered with UNFPA, UN Women, and seven women-with-disability-led organizations to document and respond to the lived experiences of women, girls, and gender non-conforming persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis. More than 300 persons with disabilities and their advocates across the world shared their experiences with us, with a particular focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, the right to freedom from violence, and related rights. As a result of this research, we have produced five resources to guide pandemic response and recovery and seek to set a new standard for future crisis preparation that ensures human rights and inclusion at the intersection of gender and disability. Read more and download the publications.
Women and gender non-conforming persons with disabilities experience myriad barriers to fulfilling their right to work and employment, due to factors based on both their gender and disability. This submission highlights how discrimination at the intersection of gender and disability leads to significant pay gaps, unemployment, harassment in the workplace, and other issues that disproportionately impact women and gender non-conforming persons with disabilities as related to work and employment, including as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The submission also highlights how other human rights obligations are connected to the right work for women and gender non-conforming persons with disabilities, including the rights to education, to sexual and reproductive health and bodily autonomy, and to be free from violence.
This submission, done in partnership with Disabled Women in Africa (DIWA), highlights human rights abuses against women and girls in Malawi, including in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. The submission describes how intersectional discrimination, gender-based violence, violations of sexual and reproductive rights, and denial of access to justice impact the lives and well-being of women and girls with disabilities in Malawi. The submission includes recommendations for the Human Rights Committee in developing its list of issues for the state review of Malawi.
This submission, produced in partnership between Women Enabled International (WEI), My Life My Choice (U.K.), CIMUNIDIS (Chile), Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre (India), Women with Disabilities India Network, HYPE Sri Lan, ka, and Disabled Women in Africa (Malawi), highlights how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women, girls, and gender non-conforming persons with disabilities. Drawing on research conducted from March to December 2020 in countries around the world, the submission highlights how pre-existing barriers to SRHR were exacerbated during the crisis, while lockdown measures, reallocation of resources away from sexual and reproductive healthcare, and social distancing requirements further limited SRH for this group, as well as the social determinants of health, and some good practices in this regard.
Several actors have identified that, alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a simultaneous “hidden pandemic” of domestic violence as a result of COVID-19 mitigation measures that is impacting the health and safety of particularly women and girls around the world. In response to a call for information from the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women about this hidden pandemic, WEI reported information from its own research and that of organizations of women with disabilities around the world to illustrate how factors related to both gender and disability are creating a greater risk of domestic violence for women, girls, non-binary, trans, and gender non-conforming persons with disabilities during this global crisis.
Read or download the submission:
WEI, as a member of the Nairobi Principles Working Group, submitted information to several U.N. human rights experts on the situation of rights related to gender, disability, and sexuality during the COVID-19 crisis. This information will be used to inform the global human rights response to this pandemic.Continue reading Response to U.N. Special Procedures Questionnaire on COVID-19 and Human Rights
Women Enabled International (WEI) strongly condemns the continued police violence and murder of members of the Black community in the United States that has led to days of protests across the country and around the world.
The racist murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, and numerous other men, women, trans and non-binary persons—with and without disabilities—is a human rights violation of the highest order.
Our staff, fellows and interns mourn their deaths and commit to fighting for racial justice in the United States and globally. We stand with protestors around the world in demanding justice and action to address the systemic human rights violations in the United States that contribute to the ongoing oppression of members of the Black community in any form—from police violence, police failures to address gender-based violence and the government failures to address the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which disproportionally impact the Black community. WEI also strongly supports the U.S. Constitution and its provisions on freedom of expression and assembly and deplores calls by some to bring weapons to this struggle.
Disability and gender justice do not exist separate from racial justice. Now—more than ever—is the time to invest in and follow the leadership of Black women with disabilities.
WEI’s leadership and staff are currently reflecting on how we can better address racial justice in our work, confront our own privileges, and support and follow the lead of Black women with disabilities and their organizations. We invite you to join us in these reflections and to share your thoughts with us directly and on social media.
Below are just a few of the brilliant experts and resources out there. Please study their resources and support them and other activists who are doing important work to surface the intersecting concerns of race, gender, and disability:
- Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Writer and Founder #EverywhereAccessible & #DisabledBlackTalk
- Imani Barbarin, Founder of Crutches and Spice and Creator of #DisTheOscars #AbledsAreWeird #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow
- Morénike Giwa Onaiwu and the Autistic Women & Non-Binary Network
- Talila A. Lewis and Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf Communities – HEARD
- Vilissa Thompson, Writer and #DisabilityTooWhite Creator and Founder of @RampYourVoice
- Sins Invalid
In addition, please consider signing on to Color of Change’s #JusticeforFloyd petition and #JusticeforBre petition; joining the NAACP’s #WeAreDoneDying campaign; reading the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s statement against police killings and use of excessive force; and if you are able, donating to a local United States bail fund through the National Bail Fund Network to assist arrested protesters in the United States to post bail.
WEI is fighting for a world where women and girls with disabilities claim their human rights, act in solidarity, and lead self-determined lives. This future will never be achieved as long as our Black sisters remain oppressed. We stand with you today and everyday – Black Lives Matter.
Yours in solidarity,
Stephanie Ortoleva and the Women Enabled International Team
In March 2020, WEI identified a gap in initial global responses to COVID-19, in that many actors were discussing how to include women and persons with disabilities in the response, but few were considering the unique experiences of women with disabilities and others living at the intersection of gender and disability.
This report, which pulls together responses to a global survey from 100 women, non-binary, and trans persons with disabilities across the globe, seeks to provide the guidance States, U.N agencies, and others need to respond to this crisis in a way that fully respects, protects, and fulfills rights at the intersection of gender and disability.
- May 20, 2020
Press Release: COVID-19 Report
- Executive Summary:
Note: If the link to the full report above doesn’t work, please use this link and consider sending us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know!
WEI collaborated with MADRE, Media Matters for Women, MenEngage Alliance, Nobel Women’s Initiative, OutRight Action International, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) to produce this practical guide for preventing, addressing, and documenting domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This guide is intended for policymakers, service providers, civil society organizations, and journalists and, among other recommendations, calls for these actors to ensure intersectionality in addressing domestic violence during the pandemic, including at the intersection of gender and disability.
This is the first part of a forthcoming Toolkit aimed at ensuring a human rights-based approach to addressing domestic violence during COVID-19.
Download guide in Microsoft Word or PDF format:
- From Global Coordination to Local Strategies: A Practical Approach to Prevent, Address and Document Domestic Violence under COVID-19 [Microsoft Word]
- From Global Coordination to Local Strategies: A Practical Approach to Prevent, Address and Document Domestic Violence under COVID-19 [PDF]
In efforts to respond to COVID-19, women, girls, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming persons with disabilities have been left behind.
This Statement seeks to articulate particular issues that are impacting rights at the intersection of gender and disability during this crisis and provide guidance to governments, United Nations entities, healthcare providers, and civil society organizations who are involved in the response.
Or download a copy of the statement:
You may endorse the statement by sending your name, country, organization if applicable, and e-mail address to WEICOVID19Survey@gmail.com.
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Si desea respaldar esta Declaración, envíe su nombre, país, nombre de la organización, si corresponde, y dirección de correo electrónico a WEICOVID19Survey@gmail.com.
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