On the 19th of June EUD took part in a webinar on the rights of women and girls with disabilities during COVID-19. The webinar was organised by the European Disability Forum (EDF), and included presenters such as Joanna Maycock, Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby, Dr. Monjurul Kabir, Coordination Adviser on Gender Equality and Disability Inclusion at UN Women, Dr. Marre Karu, Researcher at the European Institute on Gender Equality (EIGE) and Elisabeth White, Policy Officer at the Gender Equality Unit of the European Commission.
Reports show that women and girls with disabilities have suffered a disproportionate impact of the COVID19 pandemic, especially in relation to containment measures. Luisa Bosisio Fazzi, member of the EDF board and women’s committee, expressed concern that many governments have forgotten about their obligations to treaties such as the UN CRPD and the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (UN CEDAW), consequently leaving women and girls with disabilities behind. Isabel Caballero Pérez, coordinator of the CERMI Women’s Foundation, the Spanish National Disability Council, started a weekly webinar called “You Are Not Alone” to serve as a safe space for women with disabilities to connect and relate to each other.
Dr. Monjurul Kabir, from UN Women, explained that many formal and informal services have been cut due to the pandemic which has represented a barrier to access essential services for women and girls with disabilities. Joanna Maycock, from the European Women’s Lobby, highlighted that women have carried out most of the care work that has been made unavailable during lockdown, and also expressed concern about the significant rise in violence against women and girls during the pandemic.
Elisabeth White, from the European Commission, presented the Gender Equality Strategy that highlighted three main goals: freedom from violence/stereotype, equal opportunities, and equal chances to lead society. At the end of the webinar, Marre Karu with the European Institute on Gender Equality, explained the intersectional perspective adopted when conducting research to increase awareness about the needs of women with disabilities during COVID-19.
EUD will continue to monitor the impact of the COVID19 pandemic and the containment measures on different groups at risk of discrimination and violence, such as women and girls with disabilities. In Autumn 2020, EUD will a series of webinar with its members on lessons learned during COVID-19 to discuss in detail particular disproportionate impacts of the pandemic – more information will be provided soon.
EUD would like to thank EDF for organising this webinar.
Access the recording of the webinar with interpretation into International Sign here.