Promoting the rights of Women With Disabilities during the crisis

The International Disability Alliance (IDA) organised a webinar on promoting the rights of women with disabilities (PWD) during the covid crisis on 8 April 2020, in collaboration with the European Disability Forum. In order not to lose momentum in terms of advocacy for the rights of women with disabilities, IDA selected speakers from among the women with disabilities who were to speak at the UN Committee on the Status of Women, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. It was an interesting dialogue of voices from all over the world.

Training of trainers

At the beginning of 2021, the project partners decided to continue the training of trainers online only to avoid any further pandemic-related delays. Our feminist self-defence trainers continued learning how to better include women with disabilities in their workshops and to accommodate their needs. 

In March, the Lydia Zijdel Foundation provided us with a very interesting online module on working with hearing impaired women. Not only did we learn a lot about the history of Deaf and hearing impaired women and the specific forms of discrimination and violence they encounter. We also received a lot of practical tips for teaching from Maloush Köhler, a sign language interpreter who pioneered feminist self-defence for Deaf women in the Netherlands. A Q/A session on 23 March concluded this module. Two more modules will take place in May (working with women with visual impairments) and June (working with women with learning disabilities).

While the online training is informative, many of the participants regret that there are no possibilities to physically meet and get to know each other. There are differences in how feminist self-defence is organised in our four countries, how we become trainers and which groups we are working with. To be able to exchange our experiences and build connections across borders, we organised an online meeting on 13 February. 25 trainers participated, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We are looking into possibilities to organise more such opportunities to meet and work together.