Breaking Barriers: Addressing Marginalization of People with Physical Disabilities
Task: How can society effectively promote accessibility, inclusion, and attitudes of acceptance to reduce the marginalization faced by people with physical disabilities?
People with physical disabilities, such as those who are hearing, sight or mobility impaired, have historically been marginalized and excluded from full participation in society. Despite efforts to promote inclusion and accessibility, this group still faces significant barriers that limit their ability to fully engage in various aspects of life (Finkelstein, 1993). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over one billion people with disabilities worldwide, and this population is disproportionately affected by poverty, unemployment, and limited access to healthcare and education (World Health Organization, 2010).
The marginalization of people with physical disabilities can be significantly reduced if society takes steps to improve accessibility, promote inclusion, and address negative attitudes and stereotypes.
There are many reasons why it is important to reduce the marginalization of people with physical disabilities. First and foremost, it is a matter of basic human rights and social justice. All individuals should have the opportunity to participate fully in society and have access to the resources they need to thrive. Furthermore, by reducing barriers and promoting inclusion, society can benefit from the unique perspectives and contributions of people with disabilities (McDonald&Raymaker, 2013). This can lead to more innovation, creativity, and social cohesion. Ultimately, creating a more inclusive society is not only the right thing to do, but it is also in the best interests of everyone.
Historical, cultural, and structural factors contributing to the marginalization of physically impaired people
Historical factors have played a significant role in the marginalization of people with physical disabilities. Throughout history, people with disabilities have often been viewed as inferior or defective and have been subjected to discrimination and exclusion.In many societies, people with disabilities were seen as cursed or as a punishment from the gods and were often abandoned or left to die, and in the Middle Ages, they were often confined to institutions or kept hidden away from society. Even after the disability rights movement emerged in the 1960s and 70s, many societal structures and institutions remained inaccessible to people with disabilities. Today, there is still work to be done to address the historical marginalization of people with disabilities and to ensure that they have equal access to opportunities and resources.
Cultural factors can also contribute to the marginalization of people with physical disabilities. Cultural beliefs, values, and practices can shape attitudes towards people with disabilities and can affect their experiences of discrimination and exclusion.In some cultures, disability is stigmatized and seen as a personal failing or a punishment for past wrongs. This can lead to social exclusion and discrimination, as people with disabilities may be viewed as less valuable or less deserving of respect and equal treatment.Cultural beliefs about gender, race, and ethnicity can also intersect with disability to create unique experiences of marginalization. For example, people with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority groups may face compounded discrimination based on their multiple identities.Additionally, cultural norms around health and wellness can influence attitudes towards people with disabilities. In cultures that prioritize physical ability and health, people with disabilities may be viewed as inferior or lacking in moral character (Zinahwa, 2020).
Structural factors such as societal attitudes, inaccessible physical environments, and discriminatory policies can all contribute to the marginalization of people with physical disabilities.Societal attitudes and stereotypes can lead to negative perceptions of people with disabilities, which can result in social exclusion and discrimination. For example, people with physical disabilities may face barriers in employment, education, and other areas due to misconceptions about their capabilities. Inaccessible physical environments can also create barriers for people with physical disabilities, making it difficult or impossible for them to access public spaces, transportation, and buildings. This can limit their opportunities for participation in society and can lead to social isolation (Seng, Lopez, Sperlich, Hamama, & Meldrum, 2012).
In Australia, there have been some improvements in accessibility and inclusion for people with physical disabilities, but more needs to be done. For example, while anti-discrimination laws exist, there are still significant barriers to accessing employment, education, and social participation (Humpage, 2007). Additionally, negative attitudes and stereotypes persist, which can lead to further marginalization and exclusion. Therefore, it is important to continue to address historical, cultural, and structural factors that contribute to the marginalization of people with physical disabilities and work towards creating a more inclusive society.
Programs with the aim of reducing inequity andmarginalisation
There are several services and programs in place in Australia that aim to reduce inequity and marginalization of people with physical disabilities. One such program is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which provides funding for disability-related support and services to eligible individuals. According to the NDIS Quarterly Report, over 530,000 participants are now receiving individualized funding packages for the disability-related supports (NDIS, 2022).
Another program is the Disability Employment Services (DES), which provides assistance to people with disabilities to find and maintain employment (Hayward, et al., 2022). The DES program provides tailored support to individuals based on their needs, and according to the latest data of March 2022, more than a quarter (29% or 242,484 job seekers) of the total job active caseload had a disability (APH, 2023).
In terms of access to education, there are a number of initiatives aimed at improving access and participation for people with physical disabilities. The Disability Standards for Education provide a framework for schools and universities to ensure that their programs and services are accessible to students with disabilities. Additionally, the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) provides funding to universities to improve access and participation for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including students with disabilities (Ryan, 2011).
Access to healthcare services is also a critical issue for people with physical disabilities. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides funding for disability-related health services, while Medicare provides access to a range of healthcare services for all Australians (Thill, 2015). However, research has shown that people with disabilities may face additional barriers to accessing healthcare services, such as limited availability of accessible facilities and equipment.
While these programs and services are making progress towards reducing inequity and marginalization of people with physical disabilities, there is still much work to be done. According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is still significantly higher than for people without disabilities, with 10.3% of people with disabilities unemployed compared to 4.6% of people without disabilities (AIHW, 2022). Additionally, people with disabilities are less likely to attending an educational institution, with only 20% of people with disabilities attending an educational institution compared to 29% of people without disabilities (AIHW, 2022). Therefore, ongoing efforts are needed to address these disparities and improve outcomes for people with physical disabilities.
Discussion and Analysis
Importance of focusing on the social determinants of health to understand the barriers faced by the marginalized population
Understanding the barriers faced by physically impaired marginalized populations requires a focus on the social determinants of health. The social determinants of health are the economic and social conditions that influence individual and group health outcomes. For physically impaired individuals, social determinants such as access to education, employment, and healthcare services can significantly impact their overall health and wellbeing (World Health Organization, 2008).
For instance, individuals with physical impairments may face significant barriers when accessing healthcare services due to a lack of disability-friendly facilities, transportation, and trained healthcare professionals. Similarly, the lack of educational and employment opportunities may lead to social isolation, poverty, and reduced access to basic needs, such as food and housing.
Recommendations to reduce the stigma, discrimination and marginalisation of the population
A human rights approach can be used to reduce the stigma, discrimination, and marginalization of physically impaired individuals. Such an approach acknowledges that all individuals have inherent human rights and that these rights should be protected and respected. Recommendations to reduce marginalization could include:
1. Promote public awareness campaigns to raise awareness and understanding of the needs of physically impaired individuals. These campaigns could be focused on changing societal attitudes and addressing stereotypes, and could use media outlets and social media platforms to reach a wide audience.
2. Ensure that physically impaired individuals have equal access to education, employment, and healthcare services. This could include investing in disability-friendly infrastructure and providing training to healthcare professionals and educators to increase their understanding of the unique needs of physically impaired individuals (Cherchas, 2014).
3. Develop community-based initiatives that provide social support and foster a sense of community among physically impaired individuals. These initiatives could be led by community organizations, local government, or civil society groups (Darcy, 2002).
One initiative that has improved the situation for physically impaired marginalized people in another country is the Accessibility for All project in South Korea. The project aims to improve accessibility and inclusion for physically impaired individuals by developing guidelines for accessible infrastructure, providing training to professionals on disability rights, and promoting awareness campaigns to change societal attitudes towards disability (Hamraie, 2017).
It is essential to recognize the diversity and culture of physically impaired marginalized populations when developing initiatives to reduce marginalization. Culture can play a significant role in shaping attitudes towards disability, and it is important to work with community leaders and organizations to ensure that initiatives are culturally appropriate and sensitive. Additionally, marginalized populations may face intersecting forms of discrimination based on their gender, race, religion, or sexuality, and initiatives must consider these intersections to address the unique needs of each individual.
In conclusion, the thesis statement, "The marginalization of people with physical disabilities can be significantly reduced if society takes steps to improve accessibility, promote inclusion, and address negative attitudes and stereotypes," is justified by the significant barriers that physically impaired individuals face when accessing basic needs such as education, employment, and healthcare services. A human rights approach that recognizes the inherent rights of all individuals can help reduce stigma, discrimination, and marginalization. The future for physically impaired marginalized populations looks positive with increased awareness, improved infrastructure, and greater access to education, employment, and healthcare services. As society continues to work towards inclusivity and accessibility for all individuals, physically impaired populations will become more integrated, and their unique contributions and perspectives will be valued and respected.
AIHW (2022).People with disability in Australia.Retrieved On: 26th April, 2023. Retrieved From: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia/contents/employment/unemployment
APH (2023).People with disability and work.Retrieved On: 26th April, 2023. Retrieved From: https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook47p/DisabilityWork
Carey, G., Malbon, E., Reeders, D., Kavanagh, A., & Llewellyn, G. (2017). Redressing or entrenching social and health inequities through policy implementation? Examining personalised budgets through the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme. International Journal for Equity in Health, 16(1), 1-12.
Cherchas, N. (2014). Reducing Barriers and Increasing Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities: A Comparative Case Study of Two Post-Conflict Nations, Cambodia and Sierra Leone (Doctoral dissertation, University of Birmingham).
Darcy, S. (2002). Marginalised participation: Physical disability, high support needs and tourism. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 9(1), 61-73.
Finkelstein, V. (1993).The commonality of disability. Disabling barriers—Enabling environments, 9-16.
Hamraie, A. (2017). Building access: Universal design and the politics of disability.U of Minnesota Press.
Hayward, S. M., Flower, R. L., Denney, K. E., Bury, S., Richdale, A. L., Dissanayake, C., & Hedley, D. (2022). The Efficacy of Disability Employment Service (DES) Providers Working with Autistic Clients. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1-14.
Humpage, L. (2007). Models of disability, work and welfare in Australia. Social Policy & Administration, 41(3), 215-231.
McDonald, K. E., &Raymaker, D. M. (2013). Paradigm shifts in disability and health: Toward more ethical public health research. American journal of public health, 103(12), 2165-2173.
NDIS (2022).NDIS Quarterly Report: More than 530,000 Australians now supported by the NDIS. Retrieved On: 26th April, 2023. Retrieved From: https://www.ndis.gov.au/news/8040-ndis-quarterly-report-more-530000-australians-now-supported-ndis
Ryan, J. (2011). Access and participation in higher education of students with disabilities: Access to what?. The Australian Educational Researcher, 38, 73-93.
Seng, J. S., Lopez, W. D., Sperlich, M., Hamama, L., & Meldrum, C. D. R. (2012). Marginalized identities, discrimination burden, and mental health: Empirical exploration of an interpersonal-level approach to modeling intersectionality. Social science & medicine, 75(12), 2437-2445.
Thill, C. (2015).Listening for policy change: how the voices of disabled people shaped Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme. Disability & Society, 30(1), 15-28.
Williams, J., &Mavin, S. (2012). Disability as constructed difference: A literature review and research agenda for management and organization studies. International Journal of Management Reviews, 14(2), 159-179.
World Health Organization.(2008). Social determinants of health (No.SEA-HE-190).WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia.
World Health Organization. Centre for Health Development, & World Health Organization. (2010). Hidden cities: unmasking and overcoming health inequities in urban settings. World Health Organization.
Zinahwa, M. (2020). Socio-Cultural Factors Leading to the Marginalisation of Children Living With Disabilities in Accessing Education in Zimbabwe: The Case Study of Mutare District (Doctoral dissertation, The Open University of Tanzania).