WWDA News October 2016

WWDA Submission to UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

WWDA recently made a submission to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women who are currently reviewing General Recommendation No. 19 (Violence against women) which was originally written in 1992.

Under Article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, General Recommendations provide a mechanism for the Committee to make suggestions and general recommendations based on examination of reports and information received from States Parties (countries) that have signed the convention. General Recommendations provide further guidance to States Parties on specific articles in the convention. General Recommendation No. 19 (1992) specifically encouraged States to take into account that many forms of discrimination against women can be both a form of, and contributor to, violence against women worldwide.

In WWDA’s brief submission to CEDAW, we strongly encouraged the committee to make explicit in their General Recommendation that States Parties are obliged to address ‘all’ forms of violence against ‘all’ women, regardless of where such violence takes place or who it is perpetrated by. Women and girls with disability continue to experience many and varied forms of violence, often in settings that fall outside the scope of existing discrimination and anti-violence policy and practices. For example, in hospitals, in their own homes, supported accommodation and institutions.

You can read WWDA’s brief submission on the WWDA website, or download directly through the following links:

For further information about CEDAW:


Strengthening the Voice of WWDA and Women and Girls with Disability

Over the last twelve months WWDA has been working hard on on our ‘Strengthening the Voice of WWDA and Women with Disability’ project – a capacity building project funded by the Australian Government Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The broad aims of the project are to:

  1. Support women and girls with disability to be more included in national policy and programs to advance gender equality and gender equity.
  2. Provide opportunities to support women and girls with disability to understand their human rights, specifically their rights to safety, participation, decision-making and economic empowerment.
  3. Increase the capacity of WWDA to actively engage with the Australian Government on policy issues relevant to women and girls with disability.
  4. Increase WWDA’s capacity to address the strategic priorities affecting women and girls with disability, specifically: gendered disability violence; gender equity and gender equality; leadership and participation; economic empowerment; and sexual and reproductive rights.

Key outputs of the project include:

  • Facilitating the National Forum for Women and Girls with Disability that WWDA held in Melbourne back in April this year, attended by over 65 women and girls with disability from across Australia (Report to be released late 2016)
  • An extensive range of policy submissions to a range of Government and parliamentary mechanisms
  • WWDA representation and input into key human rights and disability rights events
  • Development of a suite of WWDA Position Statements on priority issues identified by women and girls with disability (Released late 2016)
  • Development of videos to complement the WWDA Position Statements
  • An advocacy toolkit (Released late 2016)
  • Further development of WWDA infrastructure and communications to help us connect and engage with women and girls with disability with Government and policy makers

We’ll keep you updated as we finalise the project and when we release key documents, including our Position Statements.

While the WWDA Position Statements are not yet public, we have included some of the cover pages below!


International Day of The Girl Child 2016

Each year the 11th October marks International Day of the Girl Child. There are about 1.1 billion girls worldwide, representing a large and vibrant generation poised to take on the future. Despite the efforts of many, girls still face a range of inequalities, violence, and discrimination. International Day of the Girl Child provides an opportunity to recommit to ending gender discrimination and inequality.

At WWDA, we know that young women and girls with disability disproportionately experience violence, disadvantage and inequality and we remain committed to doing our part to change this.

Our very own Cashelle Dunn, Manager of the WWDA Youth Network, recently put together a fabulous video where she interviewed a range of women’s rights advocates from across the world on the topic of human rights. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njnGEBVwL30


WWDA Attends Women’s Human Rights Education Institute (WHRI)

In early 2016, Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) Project Officer and WWDA Youth Network Manager, Cashelle Dunn, was selected as one of eighteen participants in the Women’s Human Rights Education Institute (WHRI) Intensive Program.

WHRI is centred around the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is a United Nations Convention adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly and entered into force on 3 September 1981. Australia was one of the first States to sign CEDAW on 17 July 1980, and went on to ratify it on 17 August 1983.

The mission of the Women’s Human Rights Education Institute (WHRI) is to cultivate transformative, feminist leadership in the area of the CEDAW and women’s human rights by empowering participants with the knowledge and understanding of how they can use these tools to create change in their own contexts. The WHRI uniquely contextualises the CEDAW Convention in both jurisprudence and practice, and offers in-depth study of how to apply its principles to diverse issues affecting women around the world.

Throughout July 2016, Cashelle participated in a pre-intensive online learning program for three weeks. From the 8th to 19th of August 2016, Cashelle attended two- weeks of intensive classes held at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, Canada.

During the program all participants created post-intensive projects that aim to be implemented in the months after attending WHRI. All participants presented and discussed their proposed projects whilst in Toronto to lecturers and fellow participants.

Cashelle has prepared an awesome report on the course which is now available for download from the WWDA website and at the following links:


WWDA Attending Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Summit

In late October 2016 WWDA will be attending the ‘National Summit on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children – Connect. Act. Change’ convened by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) as part of the Prime Minister’s delegation. The summit will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.


WWDA Planning to Attend CSW61

Once again next year WWDA will be planning to attend the 61st Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) in New York from 13-24th March 2017. In previous years WWDA has participated as part of the Australian Government delegation and hosted a range of side events. The priority theme this year will be women’s economic empowerment in the changing world. The review thee will be challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls. The emerging issue/theme will be the empowerment of indigenous women.


That’s all for now!

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