Our world has been built for the ‘average man’. The width of a doorway is wide enough for the size of the ‘average man’, the height of a table is set to accomodate the knees of the ‘average man’, a film is projected for the enjoyment of the ‘average man’.
But what if we’ve got it wrong?
The airforce discovered this when a scarily high number of their pilots were crashing in one of their older aircraft models. They investigated every inch of the machinery and couldn’t find anything wrong. Until one day one of the technicians had an idea. What if there was something stopping the pilots from performing as they needed to?
They worked out that the settings of the pilot’s fixed seat had been determined by old measurements of the ‘average man’. Over time, different sized men and women had flown the aircraft and so these measurements and many pilots couldn’t properly see out the front window or reach their instruments quickly enough. A simple remedy of adjustable seats has since saved many lives.
Paralympian Paul Nunnari sees the world quite differently to the ‘average man’. Hit by a car at age 11, Paul is a wheelchair user and now a passionate disability advocate, fighting for the meaningful inclusion of people living with disability. He puts it this way…
Getting into a nightclub is about access. Being asked to dance is about inclusion.
15% of our population globally (even more here in Australia) are people living with disability and they are a vibrant and essential part of our society.
Allowing access for all people is a basic human right that we must all be on the lookout for to rectify the physical and mental constructs that have been built for the ‘average man’ and exclude anyone that doesn’t fit this build.
But to make a real difference we must demand inclusion. Every person deserves equal access to the building, but once we are all inside, it’s how we treat and relate each other. Do we just tolerate our colleague who has disability, or are we authentically inclusive?
July is Disability Pride Month, a time to celebrate disability by sharing the experiences of the disabled community. Stories of inclusion, achievement and success, but also what still needs to be done to make the world accessible and inclusive for everyone.
We are very proud to work alongside our sister company Bus Stop Films to help tell some of these stories, and to create a more inclusive film industry.
To celebrate Disability Pride Month, you can catch Breaking the Biz, Inclusion Makes the World More Vibrant and an amazing lineup of inclusive stories showcasing inclusive filmmaking on SBS on Demand. All completely for free!
This month (and every month after!) I challenge you to not just think about accessibility, but how can we all be more inclusive?
Henry is one of those rare creative types who can switch from creativity and ideation to logistics and screen business with the elegance of those fancy quick costume change acts. He is also the co-founder of Taste Creative.