Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More than half of British public can't name a famous disabled person

From The Belfast Telegraph:

More than half the British population are unable to name a high-profile person with a disability, a survey has revealed.

Politician David Blunkett and scientist Stephen Hawking (pictured) are the most well-known, according to the poll for the charity Mencap.

However, 52% of those asked could not name a single person in the public eye with a disability.

Mencap is calling for "a shift in public perception" to allow people with disabilities to be treated equally in society.

Pollsters found 99% of people were unable to correctly name a public personality with a learning disability. Susan Boyle, the Britain's Got Talent star, was the one people could name.

Mr Blunkett, who is blind, and Mr Hawking, who has motor neurone disease, were each named by 13% of people. Stephen Fry, who has bipolar disorder, was named by 8% in the Ipsos Mori poll.

Mark Goldring, Mencap's chief executive, said: "In Great Britain there are 10 million people with a disability and 1.5 million people who have a learning disability.

"Despite this being a sizeable part of the population, the survey reveals that people with disabilities are under-represented in the media and in public life and that people with a learning disability are particularly invisible in UK society."

"Mencap's Viewpoint magazine has just released the "hotlist" for 2011, highlighting a number of talented individuals with a learning disability.

"This shows that Britain has a wealth of disabled talent and we need to see more positive role models in the media and in public life to help remove the stigmas associated with disability and to encourage a shift in public perception to enable people with a disability to be treated equally in society."