Sources: Equal opportunities for people with disabilities

The society we live in is not built with people with disabilities in mind. People with disabilities frequently face barriers that impact their everyday lives and lead to social, economic and political exclusion [1, 2].  These barriers are not always physical obstacles but rather factors in a person’s environment that, through their absence or presence, limit functioning and create disability [3]. People with disabilities face challenges accessing sufficient employment, healthcare and education linked to exclusionary policies that don’t include them in the decision-making processes [4-11]

Facts and Figures

  • In the United States, around 22.6 million working-age adults have a disability (physical and cognitive) [12]. 

  •  In 2018, 28.7 percent of the EU population with an activity limitation was at risk of poverty or social exclusion [13]. 

  • Around 15 percent of the world’s population live with a form of disability [14]. 

  • While disability correlates with disadvantage, not all people with disabilities are equally disadvantaged [13].

Disability is complex and it affects people in numerous ways. Therefore, interventions to overcome the challenges associated with disability are incredibly diverse. One common denominator is that the disadvantages people face are systemic, relating to unjust structures in our society [2,15,16]. Therefore, many organisations emphasize the inclusion of people with disabilities, focusing on the rights and policies around disability on a national and international scale. Other interventions support people with disabilities by helping them overcome day-to-day obstacles in regards to access.


  1. Common Barriers to Participation Experienced by People with Disabilities (link)
  2. Defining and researching disability: Challenges and Responses (research paper
  3. WHO - International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (link)
  4. A scoping review of the experiences, benefits, and challenges involved in volunteer work among youth and young adults with a disability (research paper
  5. “When everything changes:” Parent perspectives on the challenges of accessing care for a child with a disability (research report
  6. Inclusive education in higher education: challenges and opportunities (research paper
  7. Challenges, Barriers, and Opportunities: Social Workers With Disabilities and Experiences in Field Education (research paper
  8. Promoting employment among people with disabilities: Challenges and solutions (research report)
  9. Facilitating employment opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disability through parents and social networks (research paper
  10. Adults with Communication Disabilities Experience Poorer Health and Healthcare Outcomes Compared to Persons Without Communication Disabilities (research paper
  11. Maternal Healthcare Experiences of and Challenges for Women with Physical Disabilities in Low and Middle-Income Countries: A Review of Qualitative Evidence (research paper
  12. The Commonwealth Fund - Creating Better Systems of Care for Adults with Disabilities: Lessons for Policy and Practice (link
  13. Eurostat - Disability statistics - poverty and income inequalities (link
  14. Worldbank - Disability Inclusion (link
  15. Disability and Social Exclusion in the European Union: Time for change, tools for change (research report
  16. Disability and Social Inclusion (research paper
  17. Disabled World - Disability Statistics: Information, Charts, Graphs and Tables (link)