September 2016
For women with disabilities, dual discrimination is an unfortunate reality. As CRPD committee member, Theresia Degener, said in a recent UN publication , "Policies for women have traditionally made disability invisible, and disability policies have overlooked gender. But if you are a woman or a girl with disabilities, you face discrimination and barriers because you are female, because you are disabled, and because you are female and disabled." For women with disabilities this means that they must work twice as hard to conduct rights advocacy driven by women with disabilities so that their voices are heard.
 
This month, members of our team, twelve grantees and their personal assistants and sign language interpreters, traveled to Brazil to take part in the AWID (Association for Women in International Development) 13th International Forum, Feminist Futures: Building Collective Power for Rights and Justice . Read on for highlights and stories from our participation in this event and to learn more about DRF's ongoing work with women with disabilities. 



A movement to change one billion lives- link to annual report
Don't forget to check out our 2015 Annual Report to see how your support is making a difference for people with disabilities across the globe! The digital and word versions are available HERE.

Driving the Agenda
COSP
DRF Participation at AWID is Advocacy in Action 
DFAT Funds Active Participation for Women with Disabilities 
For the team from DRF, traveling to AWID provided an opportunity to engage in cross-movement building and increase solidarity with other women's rights advocates.
 
As we work to ensure that the voices of women with disabilities are heard in the broader human rights space, we are appreciative that our partnership with DFAT and AWID supported six members of the Pacific Disability Forum to travel to Brazil and actively engage around topics including LGBTQI issues, climate and environmental justice and reproductive health and rights. The attendees contributed to the conversation as panelists during two DRF co-sponsored sessions focused on ending violence against women and cross-movement collaboration, learned from passionate leaders and networked with women from around the globe who share a commitment to reducing inequalities and promoting opportunities for ALL women and girls.
 
At the closing plenary of the AWID Forum, women with disabilities presented a draft outcome document, "Women with Disabilities Agenda for AWID 2020 and Beyond" to provide recommendations on inclusion. Our presence among the nearly 2,000 attendees, from 120 different countries not only personified DRF's commitment to providing opportunities for personal and professional growth; but, also demonstrated the contributions of, and need for representation from, diverse women's groups in international dialog. 

You can find highlights from the forum HERE and click the links to read about how Women are moving onto the agenda, plans to Make Women Count and find additional stories and resources on the UNWomen Website.


Building Movements
HLPFDisability Rights are Women's Rights are H uman Rights
A Shared Vision for Disability Inclusive Development 

For women with disabilities advocating for po sitive chang e, access to development funding is another area of disproportionate discrimination. According to an article published in The Guardian, funding for women's rights groups in developing countries ha s fallen by more  than half since 2011. Of the billions of dollars dedicated to gender equality, j ust 0.5% goes to women's rights organizations. For women with disabilities, who already struggle to have their voices heard and their opinions counted this is a disappointing step in the wrong directi on.


 
At this year's AWID conference,  we advocate for women's rig hts funders to be inclusive of women with dis abilities. Speaking to a group of donors at a pre-conference event, DRF's Yumi S era  a dded to  the slogan from the Beijing Women's Conference and said "Disability Rights are Women's Rights are Human Rights". As we continue to work towards increased inclusion, it was promising to know that AWID, under the leadership of its president, and DRF Bridge Builder, Myrna Cunningham, has pushed for increased involvement of women with disabilities in the Forum; providing an avenue for awareness building and collaboration.

Women-led organizations fighting for their rights can identify potential funders on AWID's website,  "Who can fund my women's rights organizing?" and also check out these great women's funds:  Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, Mama Cash and the Global Fund for WomenWhen considering applying to a funder, please visit their website or contact the donor to verify eligibility requirements.


Achieving Rights
Call for Action to Eliminate Violence Against Women

As a vulnerable population, both men and women with disabilities are more likely to be victimized and experience violence; however, when gender and disability intersect, potential for violence soars and access to justice plummets.  Research shows that women with disabilities are 2-3 times more likely to experience domestic and gender-based violence and are also likely to experience prolonged and more severe experiences. During the AWID Forum, DRF co-hosted a panel, moderated by DRF's Haiti Grants Consultant, Jo-Ann Garnier Lafontant, that called attention to these disparities and focused on ending violence against women and girls with disabilities. Panelists from Handicap International, Natalia Santos Estrada (Mexico), Fatma Wangare (Kenya) and Priscilla Rodriguez from Mexico joined DRF grantees, Soinette Desir (Haiti), Yeni Rosa Damayanti (Indonesia) and Naomi Navoce (Fiji), to share successful violence prevention initiatives and lessons learned.
 
As the Chairperson of the Indonesian Mental Health Association, Yeni is no stranger to speaking about women's rights and the need for specific attention to initiatives aimed at eliminating violence against women with disabilities on a global stage. In June, at the 9th Conference of States Parties at the United Nations,  Yeni spoke openly about what it feels like to be "marginalized among the most marginalized"; citing specific instances of abuse and calling attention to the need for increased awareness of, and programs and policies that, protect individuals with psychosocial disabilities.

Violence against women with disabilities is a longstanding and ongoin
g issue; one that the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) is trying to tackle through outreach, advocacy and the development of  a toolkit containing resources and practical approaches to violence prevention in Fiji.    

Yumi Sera (DRF), Naomi Navoce (Fiji), Mereseini Bolaira (Fiji), Fatino Utumapu (Samoa), Pratima Gurung (Nepal), Joann Garnier-Lafontant (DRF), Ipul Powaseu (PNG), Kelera Ledua Taveta (Fiji)


Grantee Spotlight

GranteeSpotlightWomen at Work

On  our website we've highlighted grantee organizations who are working hard to achieve rights and build movements in their communities. 

This month we invite you to read about the work of  L'Union des Femmes a Mobilité Réduite d'Haïti, a Haiti-based organization promoting the rights of women and girls with disabilities, as well as the Women with Disabilities Development Foundation's efforts to improve accessibility in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Representatives from both organizations were in attendance at AWID and were able to share their experiences with others who are advocating for positive change for women around the globe. 

These are just two examples of the impact that women with disabilities are making at local, national and international levels. Soinette Desir, L'Union des Femmes à Mobilité Réduite, reminds us that "the fight for respect of our rights will not be possible without solidarity and collaboration of all". 


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