Women with Disability Movement in Europe and Baltic States

Sep 18 2015
Subject: Women with Disability Movement in Europe and Baltic States

I was invited to speak at this conference by EESC colleague Gunta Anca to speak on the situation of women in Europe and give an overview of policy, much of which is covered in the SOC, social Affairs Section of the EESC.

The Latvian Association of Women with Disabilities “Aspazija” and the Latvian Umbrella Body for Disability organisations SUSTENTO held the conference “Movement of Women with Disabilities in Europe and Baltic States” in Riga to a full room of women and a few men.

The conference was addressed by Latvian Ministers for Social affairs, European Disability Forum Women’s Committee, UN  and regional NGOs.

The topics of the day included

  • Participation of Women with disabilities in Political and Social Life
  • Women with Disabilities Work and Employment
  • Women with Disability and Family

My contribution covered the current policy objectives of the EU, and their failings through the lack of leadership and gender imbalance in decision making in the EU, including in the EESC.  Building on the EESC reports on Maternity Pay, Gender Road Map, Women on Boards, Women in education, Female Entrepreneurship I was able to demonstrate the inequality and discrimination that needed to be addressed for women in general without even consider the challenges associated with disabilities. Austerity measures across the EU now impacted on Gender Pension gap, continued unpaid work and stereotypes of women, and increased levels of domestic violence. These issues in particularly were specifically noted as having increased significantly amongst those with disabilities.


Together with Mrs Anca, and the establishment of a Disabilities Permanent study Group in the EESC I hope we can move forward in addressing these issues with concrete projects and proposals.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for any further information madi@madisharma.org.




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