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Voices from the Movement: Caroline Casey on Using the Lessons of COVID-19 to Create a More Inclusive World

Caroline Casey, pictured in the middle, at the 2020 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. Photo Credit: World Economic Forum
April 21, 2020

Caroline Casey is an award-winning social entrepreneur who has worked to position disability equally on the global business leadership agenda. Over the last two decades, she has set up several organizations and initiatives centred on disability business inclusion.

Launched at the 2020 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, her latest initiative, The Valuable 500, is an ambitious year-long campaign to get 500 businesses to commit to put disability inclusion on their leadership agendas. To date over 260 organizations have signed on including Adobe, Barclays, the BBC, Microsoft, Unilever, and Virgin.

We are pleased to share Caroline’s op-ed for the World Economic Forum, where she makes the case that the changes to our way of life as a result of COVID-19 have provided the world a glimpse into the everyday social exclusion faced by the over 1 billion people living with a disability worldwide. We must reflect on our learnings from this time and use it as an opportunity to rethink and create new world systems that include people with disabilities and ensure no person is left behind.

Around the world, governments are placing their citizens into various forms of lockdown as the COVID-19 virus takes an increasingly tight hold on the global population.

Suddenly, and for the first time in a very long time, huge populations are coming face to face with a feeling of exclusion from normal life and a sense of isolation, as individuals with the virus, and those in their households, are quarantined in homes and hospitals.

But for many people, this sense of isolation and detachment from “normal” life isn’t a temporary phase; they aren’t waiting out the lockdown for normality to resume. For a large percentage of the population, including the elderly and many of the 1.3 billion people living with a disability worldwide, this daily experience of isolation and exclusion is unfortunately the norm.

Read more at the World Economic Forum.