On the 5th of April, the United Nations held its 2018 Observance of World Autism Awareness Day at United Nations. The event focused on the importance of empowering autistic women and girls and involving them and their representative organizations in policy and decision-making to address the challenges they face.
Through dynamic moderated discussions with experts and advocates, the observance examined the particular challenges faced by women and girls with autism .
In November 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution drawing attention to the particular challenges that women and girls with disabilities face in the context of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The resolution expresses concern that women and girls with disabilities, are subject to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, which limit their enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Autism-Europe’s President Zsuzsanna Szilvasy attended the United Nations events in New York (see the picutures above).
Secretary-General’s Message for 2018
On World Autism Awareness Day, we stand up for the rights of people with autism and speak out against discrimination.
This year’s observance highlights the importance of empowering women and girls with autism.
They face multiple challenges including barriers to accessing education and employment on an equal footing with others, denial of their reproductive rights and the freedom to make their own choices, and a lack of involvement in policy making on matters that concern them.
Our work for gender equality and women’s empowerment must reach all the world’s women and girls. And our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals must uphold the 2030 Agenda’s core promise to leave no one behind.
On World Autism Awareness Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to promote the full participation of all people with autism, and ensure they have the necessary support to be able to exercise their rights and fundamental freedoms.
Autism-Europe combats violence, abuse and forced sterilisation for all women and girls with disabilities
At the European level, on behalf of Autism-Europe the voice of autistic women is raised by Monique Post, member of the Dutch Autism Association (NVA) and Council of Administration member of Autism-Europe. In September 2017, she was elected as member of the Women’s Committee of the European Disability Forum (EDF) for 4 years.
This Committee has 10 members from all over Europe and representing different groups of persons with disabilities. Its role is to mainstream the women’s perspective in all EDF’s policies and documents, to raise awareness of the situation of women and girls with disabilities and to work towards their inclusion in society in accordance with the Madrid Declaration on Women and Girls with Disabilities adopted in November 2008.
In May 2017, EDF and CERMI Women’s Foundation released a comprehensive report that raises awareness on how to prevent and end the forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities, to which Autism-Europe contributed by addressing the issues faced by autistic women.
On January 31 2017, Autism-Europe was invited to speak at a workshop titled “Domestic violence against people with disability”, organised at the European Parliament in Brussels by Member of the European Parliament Soraya Post. The objectives were to highlight issues linked to violence against women with disabilities and the specific challenges that they face. It also called for the EU to ratify the Istanbul Convention.
Facts and figures
According with the United Nations, girls with disabilities are less likely to complete primary school and more likely to be marginalized or denied access to education. Women with disabilities have a lower rate of employment than men with disabilities and women without disabilities. Globally, women are more likely to experience physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence than men, and women and girls with disabilities experience gender-based violence at disproportionately higher rates and in unique forms owing to discrimination and stigma based on both gender and disability. As a result of inaccessibility and stereotyping, women and girls with disabilities are persistently confronted with barriers to sexual and reproductive health services and to information on comprehensive sex education, particularly women and girls with intellectual disabilities including autism.