3rd FIMITIC Women Conference - "Improving Quality of Life of Women with Disability"

The Third FIMITIC Women Conference in cooperation with the Croatian Union of Associations of Persons with Disabilities - SOIH - and under auspices of the Secretary General of Council of Europe, Mr. Walter Schwimmer as well as the Governmental Committee on Labour, Social Policy and Health Care of the Republic of Croatia, took place on November 7-9, 2003 at Hotel "Golden Tulip Holiday" in Zagreb, Croatia.The FIMITIC Conference attracted the participation of 110 delegates from 15 European countries to exchange information and good practices in improving the situation of women and disability with a special focus on employment, education, health and violence/sexual abuse.

The Conference was chaired by Dr. Zorislav Bobus, President, SOIH, Croatia.

The improvement in the legal situation of women has been considerable in many spheres of life, equal rights are yet to be realised. This situation is even more acute for disabled women. It became apparent that keeping references to human rights and corporate accountability, among other basic prerequisites for a positive development, it would require a long and continuous fight. And this exactly has to happen. Intense lobbying efforts have to be done. Plans for implementation of basic rights often fail to make gender equality a central component of development. In fact, many of the gender references in different documents simply reaffirm previous international commitments, while paragraphs on capacity-building, science and technology do not even mention the central role women with disability have to play in those areas. The negative impacts of widespread and growing poverty, violence and environmental degradation were evident.

Official Conference speakers were:

  • Mrs. Snjezana Friganovic, Governmental Committee on Labour, Social Policy and Health Care of Republic of Croatia,
  • Dr. Zvonimir Sostar, Head of the Zagreb City Office of Health, Labour and Social Welfare,
  • Mrs. Muriel Grimmeissen, Council of Europe, Chair of the Drafting Group on Discrimination against Women with Disabilities, Department of Health and of the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field, Directorate General III-Social cohesion, Strasbourg, France,
  • Mr. Riccardo Roncoroni, European Commission, DGV Employment and Social Affairs, E 4, Unit for Integration of Disabled People, Brussels, Belgium and
  • Mrs. Mia Väisänen, Associate Expert, IFP/SKILLS, Equity Issues Group, International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland.

A basic introduction was presented by the FIMITIC President, Mrs. Marija-Lidija Stiglic.

Mr. Marjan Kroflič, Foreign Affairs Liaison Responsible, ZDIS (Federation of Disabled Workers of Slovenia), made a survey presentation on available international documents with regard to discrimination against women with disability.

Key presentations and introductions into the workshops were given by:

  • Mrs. Elisabeth Szöllösi, Coordinator, Special FIMITIC Commission on Women and Disability, MEOSZ (National Federation of Associations of Disabled Persons in Hungary), summing up the FIMITIC questionnaire surveys on legislation and on the situation of women with disabilities as well as on employment aspects
  • Prof. Mirjana Krizmanic, Croatia, on educational aspects,
  • Dr. Zorislav Bobus, President, SOIH(Croatian Union of Associations of Persons with Disabilities), on health aspects and
  • Mrs. Marica Mirić, Vice-President, HSIR(Croatian Association of Working Invalids), on violence/sexual abuse aspects.

The Conference and the discussions held were received favourably by the participants and pointing out once again the urgency of dealing with the treated subjects and the necessity of carrying out corresponding actions.

At the close of the Conference a resolution was approved.

Zagreb, November 7-9, 2003

From 3rd FIMITIC W...