Inclusion means different things to different people
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Inclusion means different things to different people

Three disabled people looking at the sunset

What does inclusivity mean to you? Including everyone? Of course, what else could it mean?

Recently I attended a webinar on inclusivity. There were several speakers on the subject from different backgrounds. They had all battled with discrimination on the grounds of their gender, race, sexuality or disability. The person talking about disability was a successful London GP who was now completely blind following a brain seizure. He was now using his story to promote the cause of equal access for disabled people and spoke with great passion and conviction, as did everyone else. They all had their own personal story and I found them very moving.

Three of them remained for the Q&A afterwards, but unfortunately, the Doctor was not one of them. I had submitted the following question in advance: "What are the views of the panel with regard to website accessibility".

The question was put to the panel and the first two people were somewhat hesitant in their response and then started talking about how the majority of visitors to their website were women or from an ethnic background and how important it was that the language used on the website was welcoming and inclusive so that no-one felt left out. They had a live chat facility so I used it to gently point out that I was talking about the accessibility of their website for people with disabilities. Nobody answered. It was clear that the notion of website accessibility for disabled people was something that had never occurred to them and yet these were people who were passionate about inclusivity!

I had another Zoom recently with a lady who was completely passionate about inclusivity and accessibility, particularly in the workplace. She worked alongside businesses, helping them to ensure that their environments and policies were fully inclusive and accessible for disabled people. She asked about what my interests were in this area and I explained about my passion for website accessibility. She again looked blankly at me at first, she had literally never heard of the concept and yet she advised businesses on the accessibility of their workplaces! Within a few minutes, she had understood the concept and has already put me in touch with other people working in the area of inclusivity as she wants them to know about website accessibility as well.

I am not levelling criticism at anyone here, you do not know what you do not know. It has just made me even more determined to spread the word!