Nearly half of disabled people feel excluded from society and day to day life, according to a new report by disability charity Scope.
The report, “Independent. Confident. Connected.” polled 2000 working age disabled people in Britain. It found that 41% don’t feel valued, and only 42% feel the UK is a good place for disabled people to live.
Just 23% of respondents feel valued by society, one third experience prejudice in their day to day lives, and two thirds say they have stopped doing something in the past year because of other people’s attitudes.
The report outlines key steps that could substantially improve the lives of disabled people, including changing people’s attitudes. Other important steps include ensuring that disabled people can get into work and stay in work, have the right care and social connections, be able to access and use digital technology, and be able to travel on public transport how and when they want.
Equality Under The Law But Not In Practice?
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, crossbench peer and wheelchair user, has previously said, ‘disabled people are marginalised.’
The Equality Act 2010 states that disabled people should be treated equally, and protection from discrimination applies in many situations such as education, employment, exercise of public functions, goods, services, facilities and transport.
The Equality Act incorporated a range of disability rights into UK law. This includes article 14 of the Human Rights Convention, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of disability and other key characteristics.
The Equality Act also incorporates key aspects of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into UK law. This important treaty was drawn up in 2006, and article 1 states that the purpose of the treaty is to: “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”
However, as today’s report has revealed, formal laws are one thing but practical application is quite another. Unless disabled people are actually able to enjoy these rights in their day to day lives, some might question the point of having these laws at all.
Fighting for Equality for One in Five People
Scope is actively fighting for equality for disabled people with its #DisabilityGamechanger campaign
James Taylor, Head of Campaigns at Scope, said: “We believe life in 2018 is just too tough if you’re disabled and we believe that needs to change.”
Equality legislation is one thing but changing minds is quite another.
James Taylor, Head of Campaigns at Scope
“Today we’re calling on everyone, whether you’re an individual, an employer, a business, a government department, or an organisation to step up and demonstrate what you’re doing for disabled people to make a difference for disability equality and really tackle some of these issues.”
“Despite the fact we’ve had equality legislation for 20 years, and the Equality Act for the last eight years, I think what’s clear is just how much is left to do, and how equality legislation is one thing but changing minds is quite another – from tackling poor attitudes in the workplace to increasing funding for social care so people can get out of the house.”
Clearly there is much work to do, from all sections of society, to achieve equality for disabled people – not only because it is enshrined in law, but simply because it is the right thing to do.
Featured image: Discovery Ability / Flickr