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Edf declaration on women with disabilities

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Adopted by the Annual General Assembly in May 2008
a) Preamble
Recalling the 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the European Disability Forum Manifesto of Women with Disabilities, which is a reference document, in order to address the fight of girls and women with disabilities for non-discrimination;
Acknowledging the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, its Article 6 on women with disabilities, and all other articles;
Having regard to Article 13 of the Treaty on European Union;
Noting the Beijing UN World Conference on Women Declaration and Platform for Action;
Noting the Resolution for the formation of a European network for women with disabilities, adopted in Berlin 2- 4 May 2007;
Noting that girls and women with disabilities face multiple discrimination which has been expressed in different arenas and public reports,
b) Declaration
Participants at the Madrid Conference organised by CERMI (Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities) and EDF (European Disability Forum), representing 25 national councils of disability organisations, 12 EDF full member organisations, 8 EDF ordinary members, the EDF Women’s Committee and the CERMI Women’s Commission, as well as a high number of observers with expertise in gender and disability,
That girls and women with disabilities are facing the effects of clear and profound discrimination. Even though important advances have been made during the last years, this sort of discrimination represents a serious and alarming problem. This may be seen in the data and through experiences of women and girls with disabilities, that show lack of education, more unemployment, lower salaries, limited access to health and maternity services, limitations to their sexual and reproductive rights, scarce or no access to services or programmes available for woman in general, greater risk to suffer violence and all kind of abuses, limited availability of data broken down by gender and disability, under-representation in our associations, etc.
Girls and women with disabilities experience even more discrimination than men with disabilities and women without disabilities. The existence of prejudices and stereotypes distort their image of themselves and their perception of being citizens with full human and civil rights. In this sense, women with disabilities generally lack the effective resources or legal tools to eliminate and correct this discriminatory behaviour.
c) Demands
That EDF, as the European umbrella association of disability organisations in Europe, and its member organisations, should adopt and implement these principles, by means of the following action points:
1. To take urgent actions towards awareness raising and develop positive action measures specifically designed for girls and women with disabilities, that involve joint efforts and oblige different actions at local, national, regional and European level to work together towards the same goal;
2. To ensure that women participate equally and effectively in the decision-making processes within all EDF structures. This should also take place in EDF member organisations;
3. To review the EDF statutes and bylaws to ensure that women and men have equal access to the decision-making bodies of the organisation;
4. To promote effective work in the priority fields of women with disabilities, adequate resources, active fundraising and a fair allocation of resources need to be ensured by EDF structures. In order to support this, EDF should explore existing budget lines in the European Institutions;
5. To ensure that all EDF communication channels are used to promote the views and opinions of girls and women with disabilities as well as mothers of girls and boys with disabilities who are unable to represent themselves. EDF and its member organisations should include information about the situation of girls and women with disabilities in all aspects of its work. At the same time, it is necessary to prepare specific documents directed to women, stakeholders and society in general;
6. To ensure the allocation of funds from its budget for training and the development of meetings and seminars for the empowerment, leadership-training and capacity-building of and for women with disabilities, and to support girls and women with disabilities in their self-identification process;
7. To recommend all disability organisations to develop actions in order to create equal opportunities and eliminate discrimination of their women members, through the creation of working groups to monitor and work to ensure respect for their fundamental rights;
8. To establish contact with the different European, regional, national and local authorities responsible for gender issues, non-discrimination, disability and equal opportunities, and request information and action about the situation of women and girls with disabilities, including those living in institutions, and to promote research in co-operation with the organisations of people with disabilities and develop specific action plans on how to improve the situation of women and girls with disabilities;
9. To recommend women’s commissions and networks are established and supported in their respective regional, national and local structures. This will strengthen a continuous dialogue on priority topics related to women and girls with disabilities, as well as mothers of boys and girls with disabilities who are unable to represent themselves;
10. To promote and support the work of EDF’s women’s committee as well as ensuring that all annual general assemblies include a session addressing priority issues of women and girls with disabilities, encouraging to this aim that all women and men in decision-making positions within the disability movement at all levels work towards the realization of these demands.

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