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I would like to introduce to Conference the specific aspect of Inclusive Economic Growth and in particular the implications for “Disabled People”.

Latest estimates tell us that of the 7,239,346,465 people living on the planet at least 1 billion are disabled. (enable fact sheet)

Interesting statistics, but what does that actually mean in terms Gender Economics and the Global Call to Action conference will deliver?

Looking at this in a Global perspective is complex, as measures for both the definition, classification and unfortunately recently the validity of a disabled person vary from country to country.

The global World Health organisation says disabled people are more likely to be denied healthcare and less likely to find work.

There are, however, some commonly accepted factors. Quite simply, if you are disabled you are more likely to live in poverty, which can impact on immediate family and subsequent generations.

The Third Chronic Poverty report 2014-2015 states:

Disability is both a cause and consequence of chronic poverty. Between 15% and 20% of the population worldwide have some form of disability, and 2% to 4% of people have a severe disability. Many are locked in chronic poverty because of the discrimination and barriers they face as a result of their disability status. They are more likely to be poor and tend to stay within a lower socio-economic class than those who are able-bodied.

At the same time disability can be one of several intersecting disadvantages experienced by poor people. Women with disabilities, for example, are more disadvantaged across a number of dimensions than men with disabilities. However, persons with disabilities are not a homogenous group, and the impact of disability on an individual person will vary enormously depending on the nature and extent of the disability itself, and the context in which that person lives.

The report equally cites the importance of “Inclusive Economic Growth” instigated by Anti discriminatory practice, affirmative action and access to Justice as crucial to achieving zero poverty across the world.

This is interesting particularly as Countries around the world such as the UK appear to be moving away from such proactive measures and eroding one of the report’s key contributory factors to developing Inclusive Economic Growth which is “Power” preferring to implement rather more short term and perhaps short sighted responses which are more likely to bring about a feeling of or actual powerlessness as in the case of the recent reduction of Legal Aid.

It is appropriate here to introduce the term and purpose of the Social Model of Disability as this impacts directly on how disabled people are perceived within society and in particular within the workplace.

This Model replaces the traditional Medical Model where a person was considered to have something wrong with them and every intervention that followed was in response to that categorisation.

This led to the longstanding battle that disabled people have had to access the most basic of Human Rights, enduring and some would say continuing to endure some horrific breaches of those rights.

The Social Model introduces the concept that it is society that disables individuals, more importantly it is society that can enable people.

If you consider the key elements put forward by the Chronic Poverty Report the reaffirmation and True commitment to this Model is essential in achieving Inclusive Economic Growth.

I have been privileged to have been at the forefront of some significant developments in this area through the ‘Inclusive Playcare Model’, the ‘Framework for Inclusion’ and the ‘Workforce Retention Programme’. I will blog about these in more detail at a later date. I can echo the findings of the Chronic Poverty Report in terms of critical success factors in organisational change frameworks when developing Inclusive Societies, which achieve empowerment and inclusive economic growth.