July is disability pride month, and this year Raconteur invited 4 panellists to join us to discuss their experiences of disability and what disability pride means to them.
(From left to right, Caroline Casey, founder, The Valuable 500.
Burcu Borysik, head of policy and campaigns, Crohn’s & Colitis UK.
Ollie Thorn, senior manager, DE&I client solutions, Michael Page.
Mark Esho MBE, founder, The Circle Foundation)
It is estimated that 1 billion people have a lived experience of disability, equating to roughly 15% of the global population (World Health Organisation).
Research from the EY and the Valuable 500 reveals that although 7% of CEO's have a lived experience of disability, 80% of them chose to hide it.
Caroline Casey, Founder of The Valuable 500 had a similar experience, and she told us "I initially hid my disability. I found out at the age of 17 that I had ocular albinism - people forget that 80% of disability is invisible.
Although I am visually impaired, I could get away with pretending I could see. I hid my disability right through university and into my first job, when I was working for Accenture, because I thought I wouldn’t have the same chances as everybody else."
Eventually, Caroline decided to be open and have conversations surrounding her disability and states "Disability should not be something to be ashamed of but we need to break down the stigma that still exists. I don’t want anybody to ever have to change who they are."
Ollie Thorne, senior manager, DE&I client solutions, Michael Page shares his story and says "I didn't realise I had a preconception about people with a disability, until I was lying in a hospital bed with a disability." and continues that disability, has been fed to us around a negative narrative.
He continues, that it's time to celebrate the incredible attributes that people with disabilities have.
Which is a prime example as to why we have disability pride, to provide an opportunity for individuals to break down this stigma, to celebrate differences and encourage more open discussions around this topic.
A huge thank you to all four of our amazing panellists for joining us this week, it was incredibly inspiring and insightful to hear their thoughts surrounding their own disability and disability pride.
For more snippets from the panel, check out our article on our website: