UK challenged on treatment of disabled and older women

By staff writers
August 10, 2013

The UK government must take action to offset the impact of its austerity policies on disabled and older women, a United Nations committee says.

The call came following in-depth evidence provided to the UN by a user-led women’s co-operative, Sisters of Frida (SoF).

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has expressed its concern over the “negative impact” on disabled and older women of serious cuts in funding imposed by the Westminster government.

The cuts have hit women's groups, disabled people, those on low incomes and social programmes supported by local authorities.

Campaigners have claimed that the government's policies towards disabled people, older people and vulnerable women constitute prima facie discrimination.

UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has looked at examining the UK government’s commitment to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

In a new report on the government’s performance, the committee has highlighted the deleterious impact of high rates of unemployment faced by disabled women.

It has also pointed to the the low numbers of disabled and black and minority ethnic women in the Westminster parliament and the country's judiciary.

It is “particularly concerned” that disabled women have been finding it difficult to access pre-natal care and reproductive health services.

It has therefore called upon the UK government to “pay special attention to the health needs” of disabled women.

The UN committee’s decision to highlight some of the discrimination faced by disabled women has been described by the Disability News Service as "a huge victory for activists in the UK".

* Sisters of Frida: http://sisofrida.org

* CEDAW - Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 55th Session (8 - 26 July 2013): http://tinyurl.com/lw57jlv

* DNS report: http://tinyurl.com/l89drrv

[Ekk/3]

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