The Blog

Education, Education, Education

The title of this post is inspired by the key sound bite of Tony Blair's party conference speech in Liverpool 1996. Though these words still ring true to this very day, in terms of ways in which some people assume that those with learning and physical disabilities don't have any thoughts, feelings or opinions, which is just not the case. Having experienced bullying at school, and five or six years ago have been discriminated in the work place because of my disability. It's about time people stop assuming and started asking. For a long time now since that incident, I have believed that there should be a stronger emphasis on educating people about the importance of equality and diversity in society.

There are many ways in which we can go about educating people; the media I feel should play a much larger role in this area. I would like to see actors with disabilities being given roles, where they are not playing their disabilities, just being characters. Since the Paralympic Games in 2012, I have noticed that there is a stronger presence of presenters with physical disabilities on the television. But there is a comparative lack of people with learning disabilities presenting and hearing their points of view and more needs to be done to change this. Television and films need to show people with disabilities just doing normal everyday things and not always overcoming adversity. There also needs to be more portrayals of those with disabilities being empowered and living beyond their disability. By doing this I believe that the media will project a positive image circa physical and learning disabilities and be refined, which in turn should filter through to the rest of society. In order for this to happen greater opportunities need to be offered so that people with learning and physical disabilities can express themselves, whether they are film directors, journalists, actors or presenters; they should not only talk about disability, but other subjects that interest them. This is why it is a great shame, that some of the biggest media corporations in the United Kingdom and the world are not doing more to welcome and embrace the talent of people with disabilities. Though it is not just the media companies that need do more, the rest of society does as well.

People with disabilities are four times more likely to be out of work than those who do not have a disability, according to (Joseph Rowntree foundation 2014). Statistics like this, paint how far we still have to go and one of my key, core beliefs is in equality and diversity training. I truly believe it can change peoples` attitudes and remove assumptions. No matter what walk off life a person is from, whether they are a doctor or waitress, a manager of a company or have their own company, a teacher or a student. I believe if equality and diversity training was around when I first began looking for a job, I would probably have not come up against the discrimination in which I have faced. People would have been far more aware of my disability, and I believe that equality and diversity training should be mandatory for all employers throughout the country