Disability history month and the international day of disabled people

cosy conversation at the end of Together 2015 Disability Film Festival

The last months of the year, November and December, are busy in the disability calendar. There is the Disability History Month and the International Day of Disabled People.

I was asked to speak at the Launch of UK Disability Month Evening session on 19th November, on the Representation of Disabled Women in Film, in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI). A very short presentation – the clip below includes other discussions including John McDonnell.

see the UKDHM website for full reportage and the livestreamed videos

Day Conference Portrayal of Disability in Mainstream Moving Image Media: Then and Now

BFI in partnership with UK Disability History Month.

I wished I had more time to expand on the films I had chosen that portrayed disabled women in the mainstream film industry.


For the International Day of Disabled People, I was asked to speak for UKDHM in a panel ‘Now you see us – Disabled women talk about visibility, empowerment and equality in the workplace‘ at University College of London staff event. I was slightly surprised that no women mentioned the role that gender played in the workplace.

woman holding microphoneThe barriers that women face going into the workplace are the same for disabled women. The challenges of confidence, of having to choose between career and making a home for family and motherhood and the whole question of insecurity are even more exacerbated for disabled women.

Many disabled women are not aware of the Social model of disability and do not understand the discriminating environment stacked against disabled people but see their impairments as personal lack which limit their opportunities.

As a consequence of speaking at UKDHM at the BFI, Ju Gosling asked if we could lead the discussion at the end of the Together 2015 Disability Film Festival. She also managed to get to show Margarita With a Straw , a Hindi movie about a young women finding herself and her sexuality , and Chocolate, a Thai film about an austistic girl who uses her martial arts to get back money from her mothers debtors for her chemotherapy. I went to some of the other films in the weekend program too. Great to meet other disabled film makers and see their work.

 cosy conversation at the end of Together 2015 Disability Film Festival
cosy conversation at the end of Together 2015 Disability Film Festival

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