Disabled access

Both World Wars, by producing many more physically and mentally disabled people than before, resulted in the creation of laws and regulations designed to protect the disabled from discrimination and proactively make adjustments to assist them. Today it is unthinkable to have, for example, a building open to the public that does not have provision for disabled access, as in this ingenious solution by the Institution of Civil Engineers in central London:

World War 2 also created labour shortages, so laws were passed to increase the opportunities for the disabled to be in employment. By the 1970s, more effort was being put into integrating disabled people into mainstream education and workplaces. Attitudes were changing.

However, there was still more that could be done and persistent campaigning eventually succeeded. The Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 and its subsequent amendments aimed to cover the spheres of schools, jobs, homes, property ownership, transport, public services and dealing with officialdom. This Act was superseded by The Equality Act of 2010 (in all but Northern Ireland), which took under its umbrella a whole host of anti-discrimination laws, not just related to disability.

(Image: David Hawgood at geograph.org.uk / CC BY-SA 2.0)

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