Papers, Articles, Reports & Submissions 2006 – 2010


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Gendering the National Disability Care and Support Scheme’ – Submission to Stage One of the Productivity Commission National Disability Care and Support Inquiry (August 2010) [PDF]  [Word]

In December 2009, as part of the National Disability Strategy (NDS), the Australian Government announced a Productivity Commission National Inquiry into a Long-term Care and Support Scheme for people with severe and profound disability in Australia. To inform the Inquiry, the Productivity Commission released an Issues Paper in late May 2010, and conducted an initial series of Public forums. In August 2010, WWDA completed its initial Submission to Stage One of the Productivity Commission Inquiry. WWDA’s Submission focuses on the critical requirement to ensure that any Disability Care & Support Scheme (DCSS) is gendered – consistent with Australia’s international obligations to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women with disabilities; to ensure equality between men with disabilities and women with disabilities, and to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of women with disabilities. In this context, WWDA’s Submission looks at the key international human rights treaties and instruments to which Australia is a party, and also examines the domestic legislative and policy contexts for the promotion of gender equality. WWDA’s Submission argues that these obligations provide the rationale, need, context and framework for a gendered DCSS and reflect Australia’s commitment to the promotion of an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective into all legislative and policy frameworks, along with the implementation of parallel strategies in order to promote gender equality and denounce discrimination against women. Copyright WWDA August 2010.


‘Recognition, respect and rights: disabled women in a globalised world’ – By Carolyn Frohmader and Helen Meekosha (March 2010) [PDF]  [Word]  [Powerpoint]

This Paper was presented by Helen Meekosha on behalf of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) to the 2010 Regional Conference on Women with Disabilities, held in Guangzhou, China. There are now more than 325 million disabled women and girls in the world, most of whom live in rural areas of developing or resource-poor countries. However, disabled women are far from achieving social, economic and political equality. In this paper we will argue that a precondition of disabled women achieving these equalities is recognition and due respect by wider society, as well as structural and attitudinal changes. Moreover, the lives and experiences of disabled women have been hidden from history and we are only just emerging as political actors in the struggle for our rights. Given limited data, we attempt a global picture of the lives and experience of disabled women. We then undertake a more detailed examination of three human rights issues. These are: the right to freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse, the right to bodily integrity, and the right to found a family and to reproductive freedom. Next, we give a history of our organisation, Women with Disabilities Australia (WDDA) and detail some of the challenges and successes that have faced WWDA since its inception in 1991. In conclusion we argue that while disabled women are now recognised in an international human rights convention, we still need to make visible our needs and demand an end to exclusion, inequality and violence. Copyright WWDA March 2010.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Submission to the Australian NGO Beijing+15 Review (September 2009)  [PDF]  [Word]

In 1995, the Fourth World Conference on Women was held by the United Nations in Beijing, China by the United Nations. At that conference, all the governments of all nations attending agreed to the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA). The BPFA was a landmark agreement. It identified a range of actions governments, the United Nations and civil society groups should take to make women’s human rights a reality. In March 2010, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will undertake the fifteen-year review of the implementation of the BPFA. This document is WWDA’s Submission to the Australian NGO Beijing+15 Review. It looks at the BPA critical areas for action, in the context of women with disabilities in Australia, and provides a brief analysis of some f the key issues for disabled women and girls. The voices of women with disabilities are strengthened with the use of direct quotes relating to particular issue areas. Copyright WWDA September 2009.


European Commission: Study on the situation of women with disabilities in light of the UN Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities (2009) [Final Report PDF] [Annex 1, 2 & 3 PDF] [Annex 4 PDF]

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a comprehensive international convention which has been signed by all EU Member States as well as by the European Community (EC). Article 6 of the CRPD specifically recognises the obligation on States Parties to take measures to ensure that women and girls with disabilities are able to have full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The purpose of this study was to analyse and interpret information on the situation of women with disabilities in Europe in light of the CRPD. Based on this analysis, the study was then to specify what still has to be improved to allow them to enjoy their rights and fundamental freedoms. The study gathered evidence at European level and at national level across 33 countries – the 27 EU Member States, three EEA Members (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and three EU Candidate Countries (Croatia, Macedonia, Turkey). Copyright 2009.


Albanian Disability Rights Foundation: Women with Disabilities in Albania – Included or Neglected? (May 2009) [PDF]

This study, the first of it’s kind in Albania, was published by the Albanian Disability Rights Foundation in 2009. The study represents an evaluation of the inclusion of the rights of women with disabilities in the country’s policy documents focused on achieving gender equality and disability rights. In addition, the study aims to make an assessment of the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in the strategies, programs and activities of the organizations focused on gender equality and on disability organizations. Copyright ADRF May 2009.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Submission to the National Human Rights Consultation (May 2009) [PDF] [Word]

On 10 December 2008, the 60th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Australian Government launched a national public consultation about the legal recognition and protection of human rights and responsibilities in Australia. This document is WWDA’s Submission to the National Human Rights Consultation. WWDA’s Submission highlights the fact that although Australia has embraced and ratified a number of international human rights treaties and instruments affirming its commitment to protect and promote the human rights of women and girls (including women and girls with disabilities), in practice, they have had little bearing on improving the human rights of women and girls with disabilities in Australia – who continue to experience serious violations of their human rights, as well as failures to promote and fulfil their rights. WWDA’s Submission focuses on several key human rights where there are continuing abuses against women with disabilities in Australia, and clearly demonstrates that the human rights of women with disabilities in Australia are not currently sufficiently protected and promoted. Copyright WWDA 2009.


United Nations Development Programme Pacific Centre (UNDPPC): ‘Pacific sisters with disabilities: at the intersection of discrimination’ – By Daniel Stubbs and Sainimili Tawake (April 2009) [PDF]

This study aims to identify the issues and challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities in the Pacific and to analyse social and economic factors impacting on their human rights. Women and girls with disabilities experience disadvantages and discrimination based on the combination of both disability and gender-based discrimination, known as ‘intersectional discrimination’. Responses targeted to their specific issues and needs are therefore required to ensure that they enjoy the same rights as all others, including disabled men and/or their non-disabled peers. Copyright 2009.


Victorian Women and Mental Health Network: ‘Increasing Safety and Gender Sensitivity in mixed sex psychiatric units’ – By Heather Clarke (2009) [PDF]

This report of the ‘Gathering Information’ project continues the work of the Victorian Women and Mental Health Network (VWMHN) undertaken during 2006-2008 to raise awareness of women’s experience of mixed sex psychiatric wards and to highlight the need for mental health services to develop gender sensitive responses which ensure safe treatment environments. Copyright 2009.


‘The Price We Pay’: Women, Disability and Emotion’ – By Margaret Charlesworth (2008) [PDF]

This thesis refers to the many ways that women with disabilities are required to perform emotion work so that they can be treated as equal members of society. Margaret’s thesis argues that women with disabilities perform more emotion work than others – especially if their quest to be perceived as rational, contributing, and competent equal members of Australian society is to be realised. Originally Margaret’s thesis was titled “doing the lion’s share” – until she realised that this implies that as a society we share a common goal of creating a society which is equitable, just and inclusive of all. That is when reality bit….the undeniable truth for many individuals within society is that it is not always just, nor does it treat everyone as equals. As illustrated throughout Margaret’s research, emotion work is when we forsake our own emotions and concerns so that others feel at ease when they interact with women who have disabilities. Although the author recognise that everyone does emotion work, she argues that as women with disabilities we often do more emotion work because we need to work harder to get where we need to be in life. The price that many women with disabilities pay for seeking equal treatment is that we forfeit our own emotional needs for the benefit of others. Copyright 2008.


‘Report on Women with Disabilities in Bangladesh’ – by Akhter Hussain for the Social Assistance and Rehabilitation for the Physically Vulnerable (SARPV) (2008) [PDF]

The objectives of this study included the need to assess the situation of women with disabilities in Bangladesh and explore the possibility of how they could be developed as a pressure group to change the situation in their favour for ensuring their development. The Report includes a detailed situational analysis of women with disabilities in Bangladesh and a series of recommendations. Copyright 2008.


‘Exploring the research and policy gaps: A review of literature on women and disability’ – by Joan O’Connor et al, National Disability Authority, Ireland (2006) [Word]

The National Disability Authority commissioned this review of literature on women and disability in order to explore where gender issues and disability issues intersect – where the issues for disabled women are significantly different because of their gender or the issues for women are significantly different because of their disability. The purpose of the research was to synthesise and summarise the state of knowledge in this area both in Ireland and internationally. Copyright 2008.


‘Information and Resources on Gender Equity & Empowerment of Women: Women With Disabilities’ – by WomenWatch in collaboration with the UN Global Programme on Disability/UN enable (2006) [PDF]

Girls and women of all ages with any form of disability are among the more vulnerable and marginalized of society. There is therefore need to take into account and to address their concerns in all policy-making and programming. Special measures are needed at all levels to integrate them into the mainstream of development. This fact sheet gives an overview of the global situation of women with disabilities and includes links to a range of resource materials. Copyright 2006.


Disabled Peoples International: Gendering the Draft Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities – by Dr. Sigrid Arnade and Sabine Haefner (2006)  [PDF]  [Word]

During the 2005 sixth session of the Ad Hoc Committee (of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities), the Committee discussed the question whether and how to introduce issues of disabled women and a gender perspective into the new convention. This background paper was developed by DPI to give an overview of how the proposed UN Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities , could be developed to be inclusive of women with disabilities. Copyright 2006.