British Groups Join Forces To Combat "Disabilism"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 25, 2004
MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND--In what many would consider an unlikely alliance, the cerebral palsy charity Scope has joined the international human rights network Disability Awareness in Action to launch the "Time To Get Equal" campaign. Leaders from both groups said that the joint effort is needed in order to best affect the attitudes and actions toward people with disabilities.
The groups, which have been at odds with each other in the past, have enlisted the support of the independent think-tank Demos. The groups have also received support for the awareness and advocacy campaign from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, and various members of Parliament.
The campaign was announced Wednesday with the release of a report entitled, "Disabilism: How to Tackle the Last Prejudice". The report noted a number of areas in which people with disabilities continue to face discrimination, in spite of legislation designed to protect their rights.
According to the report, one area in which "institutional disabilism" is most apparent is the workplace, where just 49 percent of all working age persons with disabilities are employed, compared to 81 percent of people that do not have disabilities. The report added that society will not adapt to the needs and aspirations of people with disabilities until they are "properly represented in employment."
"Many more disabled people who want to work would be able to work with changes in employment practices and a proactive -- but not expensive -- approach to adaptations within the workplace," said the report. "However whilst this would move things on a great deal, we are arguing that a more radical approach is needed so that many more disabled people are fully included in the workplace, and their talent unleashed."
The 82-page report defines the word "disabilism" as "discriminatory, oppressive or abusive behaviour arising from the belief that disabled people are inferior to others."
The entire report can be downloaded in PDF format from the Demos web site noted below.
"Big guns back disability equality" by BBC News Online disability affairs reporter Geoff Adams-Spink (BBC News)
"Bridging the gap" (The Guardian)
Time To Get Equal Campaign