LETTER TO ORGANISATIONS THAT SERVE THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
To whom it may concern
This is the second letter to you as an agency that serves people with disabilities, from Dianne Glenn, Past President of the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women Inc. (BPW NZ) and Leader of the CEDAW Working Group, “Women with Disabilities”, established through the National Council of Women of New Zealand -(NCWNZ).
My previous letter was sent to you in April 2013, explaining the need to undertake research into discrimination and impediments experienced by five specific groups of significantly disadvantaged women in NZ. These include women with disabilities, rural women, older women, ethnic women and women who were victims of the Christchurch earthquakes. The NZ Government must report to the United Nations CEDAW Monitoring Committee during 2014, as per the “Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women – from the 52nd session, 9-27 July 2013 – New Zealand “ :
Disadvantaged groups of women
The Committee is concerned about the situation of disadvantaged groups of women, including women with disabilities, who may be more vulnerable to multiple forms of discrimination with respect to education, health, social and political participation and employment. As noted in the report of the State party, disabled women are proportionately represented among those who lack qualifications, those who do not work and those on low incomes. The Committee is further concerned that there are few education and employment programmes targeted at women and girls with disabilities.
a) Provide in its next report data and information on the situation of women with disabilities including their access to education, employment, and healthcare services
b) Ensure that ongoing welfare reforms do not discriminate against disadvantaged groups of women and that an independent evaluation of their gendered impact is made.
Follow-up to concluding observations:
The Committee requests the State party to provide within two years, written information on the steps undertaken to implement the recommendations contained in Paragraph 36.
The other major area of concern within the “Concluding observations”, relates to domestic violence.
Violence Against Women
The Committee notes with concern insufficient statistical data on violence against women, especially against women with disabilities.
The Committee calls upon the State party:
a) to encourage the reporting of domestic violence and sexual violence cases.
A separate Working Group is reporting on Domestic Violence in 2016, but as it is specifically referring in Paragraph 23, to women with disabilities, and has been speculated previously that women with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of domestic violence as women without disabilities, I implore agencies and organisations with recent cases or reported incidences, to include these in their reports to me.
As has been undertaken in most previous Reporting periods, NGO’s under the leadership of NCWNZ, are preparing an Alternative Report to the Government Report, focussing on the five groups named above in the second paragraph of this letter, and specifically on the areas of requested in Paragraphs 35 and 36 of the “Concluding observations”. Each Working Party is collecting data that can be used within our NGO Report and which can be utilised to pose questions that can be directed to the Government.
Information required to prepare our report include:
1. Evidence of inequality in treatment, opportunities, access to education, health services, employment, social and political life ; discrimination against women compared to men; impediments experienced by women with disabilities, that prevent them from achieving their human rights.
2. What appears to be the cause(s) and barriers? e.g. customs and practices, prejudices, laws and regulations, lack of information (provision or sharing), resources and/or funding.
3. What are the effects of discrimination in the cases quoted? e.g. is there distinction, exclusion, restriction placed upon the individual or groups of women, based on sex. Does it impair and/or nullify recognition and enjoyment of their rights. Are the effects short or long term?
Information provided by you or your organisation or agency may be:
1. Statistics – the date and source of the information provided
2. Reports that provide information – these could be case studies, (names and identities of individuals not required as confidentiality is understood), published reports (these need a proper citation with author, title, publisher, date provided), or substantiated media reports.
3. Government agency reports e.g. Annual Reports, Statements of Corporate Intent, media reporting, the Budget (that will provide funding in the areas requested by the CEDAW Committee).
Our Report as well as providing evidence of discrimination and impediments experienced by women with disabilities, can acknowledge improvements and progress made by the Government since the 2012 CEDAW Report. Should your organisation or agency have evidence of these, please provide them as well.
1. What has the State done to improve conditions, services, opportunities, access, removed restrictions and exclusions? Are these encased in legislation or policy? What are the results of these improvements?
2. Where do you still see gaps in State action?
3. What future action do you see is required by the State to ensure progressive realisation?
Thank you for participating in this research. We are all working to ensure the equality of opportunities for women, and in this instance for significantly disadvantaged women. Please contribute any information to assist us in realising our ambition.
Information required by 31 October if possible. Please inform me if you need an extension of time.
Dianne Glenn JP Carolyn SavagePast President of BPW NZ President BPW NZ President of NCW Papakura/Franklin Branch Leader – NCWNZ/BPW NZ Working Group – Women with Disabilities.