Featured image: Image from UN.com [scroll down. There’s one in each of a few languages.] Edited in Affinity Designer.
4 for Now
Despite about 15% of the world’s population (1 billion people) being disabled, disabled people are still one of the most excluded groups in society.
The United Nations (UN) proclaimed the annual observance of “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” (their phrasing, not disabled people’s) in 1992, presumably because we didn’t exist before then (/sardonic). In 2015, they adopted the Agenda for Sustainable Development—a plan including 17 goals (five of which include accessibility) to ensure “no one is left behind.”
To reach these goals, once a year, the world recognizes disabled people exist (/sardonic). This year, the UN acknowledges some of the ways the pandemic affects disabled people more than non-disabled people:
- We already had less access to health care before the pandemic. One in three disabled people couldn’t afford health-care facilities. We weren’t and aren’t getting the treatment we need.
- When we get access, we’re discriminated against in favor of abled people who would have “better quality of life.” Apparently, we aren’t worth saving (/sardonic).
- Disabled people who live in care homes (who are often also older) are at a higher risk of exposure.
- Many disabilities make COVID symptoms more severe, or increase the risk of secondary conditions developing.
- Disabled people are at a higher risk of domestic violence while in lockdown/work-from-home situations. And despite the surge in remote work, disabled people are losing their jobs “at precipitous rates.”
More Disability Statistics
- 80% of disabled people live in so-called “developing countries.” (This is an estimate, because definitions vary by country and stigma effects data collection.) Yet the global South is often excluded from related policies and discussions.
- 46% of people 60 and older are disabled. Thanks to ageism, they’re less likely to receive the standards of care other folks get (let alone the level of care they need). Ageism also contributes to fewer service options and a higher likelihood of abuse.
- 20% of women are disabled. Despite being grown-ass adults, we don’t always get to call the shots in our own lives. (Remember Britney Spears’ conservatorship? She’s far from the only one.) This article from the American Constitution Society blog talks about other ways disabled women aren’t allowed to just be women. And this doesn’t even touch on disabled trans or nonbinary folks.
- 10% of children are disabled. According to UNICEF’s Henrietta Fore, “Children with disabilities are less likely to be included or heard on almost every measure … [they] are simply being left behind.” Read the key findings and download UNICEF’s “Seen, Counted, Included” report on children with disabilities.
I try to stick to facts my articles (even though everything I write is biased, because it’s coming from my own beliefs and views of the world), but I opted to leave my emotional responses in this post. While neutrality may be a virtue in journalism, sometimes it seems folks don’t get how serious the problems I write about are for other folks. I’m not just sharing data; I’m sharing people’s experiences. (Then again, does it even matter? [Twitter]) (This is about racism, but the principle stands.)
4 for Later
- Listen to disabled people. For starters, don’t call us “persons with disabilities.” We generally dislike that. Some individuals may ask you to use this phrasing, in which case, use it for them. The rest of us still don’t like it.
- Learn how to make your web content more accessible. This Digital Accessibility Guide from TextHelp.com is targeted to marketers, but has a good list of best practices. (I realize not everything on this site is accessible. I’m working on it! If you notice any issues or something I’ve missed, let me know in the form below.)
- Stop using ableist language. The Harvard Business Review has some examples, reasons why ableist language is harmful, and tips to do better. The BBC also has an article by a deaf writer who covers the same ideas.
- Boost and support disabled creatives. Check out #DisabledCreatives on Twitter or on Instagram. If you’d like to support this disabled creative (and the blog!) check out the new 4 for Now Shop right here on the site, or see my Lnk.bio for other ways to support me.