Last updated on December 3rd, 2022 at 12:28 pm
According to a 2011 report from the World Health Organization, an estimated one billion people worldwide live with some form of disability. That’s about 15 percent of the global population. And yet, in many cities, the mobility of disabled people still faces significant barriers when accessing basic infrastructure. Inaccessible infrastructure is a hidden cost of ableism that often goes unnoticed by the able-bodied majority.
From sidewalks and curbs that are too high to navigate in a wheelchair to public transit that is not accessible to those with mobility impairments, the everyday reality for many disabled people is one of exclusion and isolation. Systemic ableism creates barriers for disabled people not just in terms of infrastructure but also in terms of employment, education, and health care.
The intersection of disability and poverty is a reality for many disabled people worldwide. And when disaster strikes, disabled people are often the first to be left behind. The everyday struggles of living with a disability in an ableist world can be exhausting and debilitating.
But the fight for accessibility is a fight for disability justice. It’s a fight for the recognition that accessibility is a human right. And it’s a fight that we must all continue fighting until our cities are truly accessible.
The Hidden Costs of Inaccessible Infrastructure
Inaccessible infrastructure limits the mobility of disabled people, making it difficult for them to access essential services. This can have a negative impact on their lives, as it prevents them from fully taking part in society. For example, inaccessible infrastructure can prevent disabled people from being able to travel to work or school or from accessing medical treatment.
Policymakers need to be aware of the hidden costs of inaccessible infrastructure and take steps to make sure that all public spaces are accessible to all. This is important not only for disabled people but for everyone who uses these spaces. It is also important that policymakers consider the cost savings that could be achieved by making public space accessible.
Accessible infrastructure costs less to maintain and is more likely to be used. This means that it is a cost-effective way to improve public space accessibility. In addition, accessible infrastructure can help disabled people feel more included in society. By making public space accessible, policymakers are helping everyone participate fully in our country’s social and economic life.
How Systemic Ableism Creates Barriers for Disabled People
Systemic ableism is the discrimination of people with disabilities by society. This includes discrimination that occurs at all levels, from individuals to institutions. These barriers limit the mobility and quality of life for disabled people and their ability to take part fully in society.
Policymakers and the public need to be aware of these issues to create inclusive environments for everyone. This means they need to be aware of how systemic ableism creates barriers for disabled people and how they can address them. For example, policymakers can work towards creating accessible infrastructure, increasing awareness of disability issues, and reducing negative attitudes towards disabled people.
Disability is a complex and multi-layered issue. It can encompass physical, cognitive, and psychological impairments. Each person’s experience of disability is unique, making it difficult to generalize how systemic ableism affects disabled people. However, some common patterns emerge from research on this topic. For example, systemic ableism often creates barriers for disabled people regarding their access to goods and services, employment opportunities, and social interactions.
These barriers limit the mobility and quality of life of disabled people. They also make it hard for them to participate fully in society. This means that they are less likely to develop their full potential as human beings. Policymakers need to be aware of these issues to create inclusive environments for everyone.
The Intersection of Disability and Poverty
Disability and poverty are two of the most intersectional issues there are. They interact with each other in complex ways, which makes addressing them both difficult.
Most disabled people live in poverty. This is because of a lack of accessible infrastructures, such as accessible housing or transportation. A lack of accessible infrastructure can create additional barriers for disabled people when accessing jobs, education, or health care. For example, it can be difficult for someone who uses a wheelchair to get around without help.
Policymakers need to do more to support disabled people. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. For example, governments tend not to invest as much money into accessibility initiatives as they should. Policymakers often focus on “fixing people” instead of “supporting people,”–meaning that they prioritize fixing disabilities rather than accommodating them and helping them achieve their full potential.
Policymakers can support disabled people by investing money into accessible infrastructure projects that will improve the lives of disabled people, ensuring that existing legislation is properly implemented, and funding programs that provide targeted help to vulnerable groups.
Disability Justice and the Fight for Accessibility
Disability justice is a movement that seeks to ensure equal access for everyone, regardless of disability. This includes people with physical and mental disabilities.
The lack of comprehensive accessibility measures limits disabled people’s ability to interact with the world around them. This isolation contributes to their marginalization and challenges in achieving disability justice.
Although some progress has been made in the advancement of disability rights, much more must be done to promote true justice. Policymakers need to consult with and implement the recommendations of the disability community.
When Disaster Strikes, Disabled People Are Left Behind
Disaster can strike, and it can be a devastating experience for anyone in the world. Unfortunately, disabled people are often an afterthought when disaster strikes. This lack of planning can have deadly consequences for them and their loved ones. Inclusive policies and infrastructure are crucial to protecting everyone during a crisis, but much work still needs to be done to ensure disabled people are not left behind.
Disasters can leave many people injured or homeless. Disabled people may find themselves in even more difficult situations than others because of the disabilities they face. For example, someone deaf may not communicate effectively during a crisis, or someone blind may not navigate safely without help. Disabilities also increase the risk of being a victim of crime or abuse during a disaster.
We must all learn about disasters and how they affect different people to make informed decisions about what steps we need to take to protect ourselves and our loved ones. By working together, we can ensure that everyone is ready for whatever comes our way—regardless of disability status.
The Everyday Struggles of Living with a Disability
Besides, the infrastructure challenges and access to affordable quality healthcare. There are many things that people with disabilities have to consider daily that others may not even think about. For example, getting around in an unfamiliar place can be very difficult if you are blind or have low vision.
Then there are things like finding a job or getting an education, which can be harder if you have a disability. And let’s not forget the everyday tasks that can be challenging, like cooking, cleaning, and personal care.
It is important to remember that everyone’s experience of living with a disability is different. Some people may find it more difficult than others, but we all face unique challenges. By working together and supporting each other, we can make sure that everyone has the chance to live a full and happy life.
Accessibility Is a Human Right
Accessibility is a human right, not a luxury. This is something that many people may not realize, as accessibility often falls victim to budget constraints or other priorities. However, disability should never limit someone’s mobility. Individuals with disabilities should be able to access the same opportunities and resources as everyone else.
Inaccessible infrastructure limits the mobility of disabled people. For example, if there are no elevators in an office building, wheelchair users will have difficulty accessing the offices on the upper floors. Sometimes, this can lead to meaningful barriers for individuals with disabilities who need to travel for work or school.
Accessibility should be a central part of any society that wants to be inclusive. Unfortunately, it is often neglected because of budgetary constraints or other priorities. Disability should never limit someone’s mobility, and policymakers should make accessibility a priority to ensure that all citizens can fully participate in society.
To Wrap Things Up
People with disabilities often face significant challenges in our society. Access to public facilities and practices of ableism typically result in their exile and oppression. However, the fight for accessibility strives for disability equity. Its aspiration is the recognition that access is a fundamental human right. And it’s a fight that we must all continue fighting until our cities are adequately accessible.
Jim was a healthy and active man until a football accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. He has since learned to navigate life as a person with quadriplegia, which has not slowed him down. Jim is proud of his many accomplishments, including traveling to foreign countries and most regions of the United States. He currently lives with his wife and family dog near Austin, Texas. Jim’s latest accomplishment is authoring “The Last Tackle.“