Obstacles in exercising the sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities from Valjevo

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…IZ KRUGA – VOJVODINA organized an online conference Obstacles in exercising sexual and reproductive rights on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, from 11:00 to 12:30.

The conference was organized within the project Capacity Building of Women with Disabilities for Advocacy of Their Sexual and Reproductive Rights in five municipalities in Serbia: Uzice, Raska, Temerin, Kragujevac and Vranje. The project is implemented with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and aims to empower women with disabilities to advocate and actively advocate for their sexual and reproductive rights.

The conference was opened by the trainer on the project Miladinka Mijatovic, and moderated by Ivana Zelic, coordinator of the SOS service of the Organization …IZ KRUGA – VOJVODINA.

The conference was attended by 10 participants in online training on advocacy for sexual and reproductive rights for women with disabilities from Uzice, Raska, Temerin, Vranje and Valjevo. In previous months, participants gained knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and rights, the legal framework, the accessibility of health facilities, the concept and models of disability, language and terminology and advocacy methods.

At the conference, members of the Society for Cerebral Palsy from Valjevo, Svetlana Beljanski, Marija Sofranac and Jelena Sofranac, presented a presentation in which they mapped the obstacles faced by women with disabilities in exercising sexual and reproductive rights in their municipality, architectural inaccessibility of institutions and inaccessibility of support and health care systems.

Photo: Online conference participants

Obstacles faced by women with disabilities in Valjevo in exercising their sexual and reproductive rights are: inaccessibility of public transport, inaccessibility of information for people with sensory disabilities (lack of information in adapted formats and sign language translation service), insufficient information of medical staff about disability and inappropriate treatment of persons with disabilities, use of inadequate language and terminology, presence of prejudices against women with disabilities and their sexuality, as well as lack of adequate services to support persons with disabilities in exercising their rights.

Representative groups from Uzice, Raska, Temerin and Vranje shared their experiences of participating in the project, discussed ways to map and present obstacles to the exercise of sexual and reproductive rights, as well as advocacy actions organized in their municipalities.

The participants emphasized the importance of the conference and the possibility of meeting and exchanging experiences that are similar in all cities. They believe that the key issues that need to be addressed in the coming period are: accessibility (architectural and communication), changing attitudes in society and empowering women with disabilities to advocate for their own rights.

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