Women With Disabilities In Employment
The EU directs its efforts to the situation of women with disabilities and over time has built a real European policy on disability, expressed through important documents.
The document ‘The situation of women with disabilities’ (exploratory opinion requested by the European Parliament), adopted on 11/07/2018, is useful to defines the scenario. Women with disabilities are 16% of the total population of women in Europe, or 40 million women and girls with disabilities. Most of the time women with disabilities, ‘face intersectional discrimination in all areas of life, including, socio-economic disadvantages, social isolation, violence against women, forced sterilization and abortion, lack of access to community services, low-quality housing, institutionalization, inadequate health care and denial of the opportunity to contribute and engage actively in society’. With regard to employment, the document explains that, the participation of women in the labour market, in general, is much lower than that of men (46.6% compared to 61.9%) and that only 18.8% of women with disabilities are employed in the EU. Women and girls with disabilities encounter greater difficulties in entering the labour market due to barriers to mobility as well as higher dependence on family members. Sometimes, indeed, personal, family or personal dependence create obstacles to woman active participation in education, the labour market and the social and economic life of the community, making it harder for them to lead independent lives.
The document proposes also some recommendations to countries to improve this situation, among which:
- to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the recommendations with regard to women and girls with disabilities received by the EU in 2015 and the UN Committee’s General Comment No. 3 on Article 6 of the CRPD;
- to include a disability perspective in its gender equality strategy, policies and programmes, and a gender perspective in its disability strategies, including its future European Disability Strategy 2020-2030 and the European Pillar of Social Rights
and indicates two important dimensions to promote the employability of women with disabilities:
- using the instrument for ‘microfinancing and the European Social Fund ‘to boost employment and promote social inclusion, opportunities for self-employment, entrepreneurship among women with disabilities, equal representation in management boards of enterprises, development of social enterprises or starting one’s own business should be promoted’ (p. 11).
- realize a ‘better balance between professional and private life for women with disabilities and carers of persons with disabilities through effective measures based on their specific demands’ (p. 12).