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October 5, 2021 33 mins

In Episode 4 we’re focussing on how our modern world was not built to include everyone. The big question in this episode is - If the world around us enabled us instead of disabled us, what would that look like? Sophie Morgan speaks to Yoshihiko Kawauchi, Katie Pennick, Dr Victor Pineda, Haben Girma, Michaël Jérémiasz, Sam Latif, Christina Mallon, Esther Verburg and Sinéad Burke to find out what is being done to design a world for everyone.

Featured among the guests is Yoshihiko Kawauchi, an architect and wheelchair user who championed universal design in Japan, and who advised Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on the design of venue construction for the Games. We’ll hear from him about his hopes for greater accessibility in Japan. Katie Pennick talks to us about the difficulty of inaccessibility in London, and how accessibility extends beyond just being able to get on public transport. Christina Mallon, head of inclusive design at Wunderman Thompson, works with brands on their inclusive advertising and marketing, and tells us about the revolutionary products she’s worked on. Esther Verburg, head of Sustainable Business and Innovation at Tommy Hilfiger, gives us the lowdown on Tommy’s groundbreaking accessible fashion line. Sam Latif, Company Accessibility Leader at P&G and a blind British woman, tells us how her lived experience and expertise resulted in company wide innovation.

Hosted by Sophie Morgan and executive produced by Sophie Morgan and Sinéad Burke, Equal Too has been created by Harder Than You Think, the award winning team behind Emmy award winning Netflix documentary Rising Phoenix, and P&G Studios. The podcast aims to continue the conversation that the documentary started.


Equal Too: Achieving Disability Equality is a new special six-part series, featured on Seneca's Conversations on Power and Purpose series, that explores the biggest challenges faced by the disabled community and starts a conversation about what is needed to drive equality.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
There's a young boy who wanted to watch the dis
cut up from our surgery, prosthetic picks, burgery, telling me
I'm normal, but normal they never really make me see
they are always painting discriminated. But let me say that
to all the right now. I don't think our society
it has a consensus to have people disability have rights

of transport. We live in a world that wasn't designed
for us. We have to move through systems and policies
that were never designed with us and with us in mind.
My goal is not to make hundred percent of the
of the French siety physically accessible, but I want of
all those citizens to just never discriminate someone because of

his ability or an ability to put to do one
step after the other. Have choices that we have, opinions,
I have ideas there we have because I but there
are limited either way, the world is constructing the winner.
We are out how we live in a world that

is not designed for everyone. You don't believe me, whether
you're disabled or non disabled, I bet you've experienced a moment,
if not several moments when you felt excluded and frustrated.
Think about it, ever, use a mouse that's only designed
for right handed people want a dress without pockets? Ever
thought about how your smartphone doesn't really sit that comfortably

in your hand, Struggle to open a piece of packaging
or read the small print. Well, you're not the only ones.
Cut homes, the senior vice president of product design at
Salesforce describes this as a mismatch between the person and
our environment. For disabled people, these mismatches can be the

difference between inclusion and exclusion, between being able to work
or live in poverty, between being able to live a
life with self respect and a life lived on the
margins of society, the ability to contribute, communicate, integrate, thrive,
even survive. It's like Haven Gurmer said to me about

her experience as a deaf blind student at Harvard. So,
I work as a disability rates lawyer addressing able wisdom.
I'm also a writer. I published a memoir called Harving
The Death bide Woman who Conquered Harbord Law. I did
not overcome my disability. It was harbor that I had

to overcome. Able is um. If the world around us
enabled us instead of disabled us, what would be the consequences?
The sky would be the limit, but the sad fact is,
whether it was intentional or not, We've designed a world
that excludes so many of us, so what can we
do about it? In this episode, we want to hold

a conversation about the challenges of living in an inaccessible world.
Join me as I speak to athletes and activists, designers
and campaigners from around the world to find out what's
happening and what is being done to design a world
that is for everyone. To begin this episode, I spoke

with a famous architect and wheelchair user from Japan called
Yoshihiko Kawachi. Person is also I have a proposcripting that
access to move the issue for of our the maybe
third dy or four the years. Yoshihiko is one of
the great global voices for championing universal accessible design and

has been advising Tokyo on the construction of venues and
other locations for the Tokyo Paralympics. He gave us some
background on how he hopes the games will help to
bring around change in attitudes towards accessibility in the city.
I am the first person who have got the impact
with the runnerable maids who easily be found out with

the concept of universal design. Universal design is the process
of creating products that are accessible to people with a
wide range of abilities and disabilities. Universal design typically results
in an outcome that benefits a variety of users, not
just people with disability. An example of this would be
a sidewalk ramp or a cut curb, or even an elevator.

City which he has that most elevator compared to other
bigger cities. But our accessibity challenge has us started from
two thousands, almost all stations had no elevator, so that
means we have achieved within the twenty years very short. However,

the program in Japan is the attitudinal issue. At the
funeral issue means human rights or things of equality or dignity.
Internal change is required for Japanese people. Internal change it
means that to look around the environment and what is

the best way for me to do in this environment,
like using the elevator or using escalator, were using the stairs.
Such kind of a smart, clever understanding is not for
startards in our society. That is a problem. It's hard

to know yet whether or not the Games has made
an impact on the attitudes of the Japanese towards disabled people,
but what we do know is that Tokyo has been
on a significant journey to improve the infrastructure of the
city to be more accessible and inclusive, and this is
in part down to architects like Yoshihiko. In an earlier episode,

we heard how the Paralympics left the host city Barcelona
a more accessible city, and we also know that Beijing
and London saw significant improvements. So we have proof that
the Games can make an impact on the host cities
as long as they have the right leadership, motivation and investment.
I am the emblem of Paris and this is my face.

My face was born from the union of three symbols,
the gold medal. So looking ahead, with Paris fast approaching,
can we expect even more change the Olympic and Paralympic
plate which brings people together through the values of sport.
I spoke to former French Paralympian Michael Jeremyz, an adviser

to the Paris twenty four organizing committee, about Paris, a
city where less than ten percent of the metro system
is fully accessible to people with all types of disabilities,
and moved and moved to London three years ago. So
I'm I'm a French Frenchman living in London, and I
mean during my life here, I didn't live Paris because
and you're like Paris, are born there, and I love Paris,

I love my country. I asked Michael about his experience
of living in Paris and London and his hopes for
Paris four and if he believes the City of Lights
will ignite the change that we need. Well, there are
many obstacles in Paris. Paris is not this very old city.
Paris hasn't been thought and made for disabled people, and
especially for people in the Wilcha, that's for sure. Whenever

have at the train station and I travel a lot
between some puncrustation and gardiner in Paris, there's already a
big difference, the accessibility, the way we look at me
when I just ask for my cab, I just que
and yeah, of course I've experienced many womeny way too
many times, discrimination with taxes telling me I know it's
not gonna fit and I'm supposed to do that or
you should call like professional camp. Now in London, the

question is not it's not even raised all taxes accessible.
I've never seen someone looking at me with this like
look of taking you. But I would rather not take
you welcomes to taking the Metro. I mean, the Metro
London is an option. It's not perfectly adapted, it's not
perfectly accessible, far from that, but it's an option. Not
all the stations are accessible, but sometimes I can use them.

And you always have someone coming to me and asking
me where I'm going to make sure once I lived
there there's a lift functioning stuff like that. It's just like,
I just feel like here, it's not special that I'm disabled.
When I go in a restaurant, I don't even think before.
I mean most of the time, not all the time,
but most of the time I'm not thinking is the
way they're gonna look at me like his embarrassed because
it's a bit crowded, or because the toilets are on
the my news floor on the first floor. Just like

that's what I'm aspiring to, just like being one of
like the others, you know what I mean. And in
Paris and in France, we far from that. My goal
is not to make hundred percent of the of the
French city physically accessible, but I want d percent of
all those citizens to just never discriminate someone because of
his ability or an ability to put to do one

step after the other. Infrastructures have to improve in the
next three years, in the next decades, because the game
is not just like two weeks, it's like years in,
years before and decades after. It's all about legacy. Okay,

it's clearer than ever now that the Paralympics has the
potential to change a city for the good. But do
we need to rely on the Paralympic Games to come
around before a city's infrastructure is audited for access Obviously
they should not be the case. Surely, only thinking about
accessibility when a city is home to a summer or
winter game is not enough. However important they are as

a catalyst for change. Take London, for example, where I
live and work as a wheelchair user. After the Twelve Games,
we may have seen improvements to the levels of accessibility
and inclusive design, such as on the DLR line. But
even for a more economically developed country, one who has
ratified the u n crp D and even has an

established a Qualities Act to protect disabled people, there is
still a long way to go before the UK is
accessible for all. Katie Panic, a campaigner at Transport for All,
went viral documenting her journeys around London streets on Twitter
and has helped to bring recognition to some of the
physical barriers facing disabled people on public transport in the

Capitol and across the UK. Getting from A to B
is about more than just the modal forms of transport,
you know. It's there's no point having accessible buses if
you can't get to the bus stops. So it's also
about street space um and the built environment, and a

huge part of that is about the pavements UM. So
we see all sorts of problems um, you know, a
lack of tactile paving, uneven steep pavements, narrow pavements, payments
that are cluttered with objects. Katie isn't optimistic that change
is happening at the right pace within the UK, especially

if contrasted to the transport systems in neighboring European countries.
I know the Netherlands has made a commitment to level boarding,
I think within the next ten years. Barcelona their metro system,
their their electro system is something like nine five accessible
and when when they say accessible, they mean genuinely step

free level boarding from from you can roll on, which
is amazing. Eighty four stations on the London and Ground
out of two hundred seventy are currently step free. However,
obviously we know step free is a bit of a
misnomer in this situation because some of those depend on
the manual boarding rants. I think it's about half of

them you need a manual boarding rants, And in terms
of like genuinely step free level boarding stations, I think
it's about forty out of two seventy. Perhaps we have
to ask ourselves what we mean when we talk about accessibility,
because inclusive design or universal design appears to mean something

different depending on our perspective. What is accessible to one
disabled person may not be to another, And it's impossible
to achieve success if advocates, designers, architects and policymakers are
all working to different goals. Well, let me turn up
with two really big ideas. Dr Victor Panada is the

president of the nonprofit World Enabled and leaves the campaign
hashtag Cities for All, which encourages governments to design spaces
for everyone. I aspector about the differences in approach. Disability
isn't just a phenomenon of individual or even just a
social construct. His ability is an interactive experience. I have

what cat Holz talks about with the mismatch, but even
more specifically, it's really an essence. It's a deprivation of
human agency when interacting with the environment. With the neases
that we have choices and we have opinions, that we

have ideas, and we have desires, but they're all limited
um in the way the world is constructed, the way
that we interact. That's the world. What's those barriers exist.
We're depraved of human agency. Now inclusive design, universal decide,

and accessibility all seek to expand human agency the sea
to and lock potential we see to open up you.
Modalities have been around with the world around us, and
so I think when we think about these words, we

should first center on the fact that they all have
a very similar and objective. We just jo identifying limity barriers,
I lock human potential. So when we think about accessibility,
we design for compliance and minimum standards. Imagine a standard
accessible bathroom, the white plastic glob rails, the higher toilet

at the wider door. I mean that as a wheelchair user,
I have a level of independence, but the design is
so clinical it doesn't give me a sense pride or agency.
It reminds me that I'm disabled. It reminds me that
I'm different. What if we could reimagine accessibility so that
it could be beautiful, It could be stylish. We rarely

put these words together, but we can and we must,
because disabled people belong in beautiful spaces too. One way
to achieve that is to find designers with a lived
experience of disability themselves. We spoke to Christina Malin, head
of inclusive design at Wonderman Thompson, and asked her more
about her inclusive design process. The work that I do

release stems from the fact that both my arms became
paralyzed about eleven years ago due to motor neuron disease,
and I was working as a marketer at the time
and felt like I didn't see myself in the ads,
but you know, of the world had a disability, So

you know, I really can on this kind of adventure
of helping brands create more inclusive advertising and then really
shifted towards um, you know, product design in addition to marketing,
because a lot of times the brand was saying, well,
we have the marketing, but we're not sure how to
make the products. Degrees created the world first adapted the

order in in April of this year, the world's first
accessible deoderance of the new there is to be no
limits when something moves us. It had a hooked handle
for one handed use magnetic closures to remove and replace
the cap with ease, and all of the text details
were mirrored in Brail to support those who are blind
or have low vision. Wonderman Thompson and Christina lad the

design process, taking in feedback from the disabled community the
whole way through Windaman Thompson brought in different members of
the community that are individual acts activists from different backgrounds, race, sexuality, ethnicity,
and just talk to them about their problems with deoder

and other problems with um different you know, CpG products,
and then we did some sketches, brought them back to
the disability community, guy them kind of you know, we
like this one, we don't like that one. And there
was mixed reviews on certain things. UM some lights really

you know, highly potent sense others didna so UM. We
made some revisions to the deodoant has yet to make
it to market, but this one case study proves the
value of engaging with the disabled community. It shows companies
and designers that lived experience has expertise, and to truly

create accessible products, it has to be created with us,
not for us. Building accessibility into cities or physical products
is without doubt a real challenge, but so often we
are retrofitting access, a process which can be complex and costly.
But the digital world, however, is newer and ever changing.

Yet disability advocate and human rights lawyer Haven Gurmer tells
us that even in this domain, we are not yet
doing enough. The vast majority of videos online don't have capturing,
and captaining helps provide access for death individuals. It also
helps hearing people who are in sound off situations. It

also both search engine optimization. The more text associated with
your content, the more people will find your content disabled
or non disabled. So one way to make the Internet
more accessible is to increase capturing. It's it's really just
good design. So people who use screen readers, people who

use assistive devices, make sure there's testing by disabled people.
Even better, include disabled designers as part of your team.
Increase hiring of disabled people at all stages of the organization.
Including disabled people as part of the team is essential

for meaningful progress, But having disabled people lead the team
is even better. Sam Latif is the company accessibility leader
at P ANDNG and a blind British woman. Her lived
experience and expertise resulted in company wide innovation. Companies are
waking up to the fact that people are one living longer,

and that we're not all born with a disability. You know,
we can develop one at any time through age or circumstance.
People with disabilities, be it cognitive, sensitive, sensory, or physical,
have got money to spend. The more inclusively designed the product,
the higher the chance that the disabled person can and

will access it and will continue to access it. Telling
products apart is an ongoing challenge for me and millions
of blind people. So many products feel the same from
the outside, but the stuff inside is different, you know,
full fat and low fat milk, catch up or male
shampoo or conditioner, and sometimes even more serious stuff like

toothpaste or hair removal cream. The list goes on and on,
and businesses need to recognize the magnitude both of this
problem for blind people and the growth opportunity for them.
I created a disability Challenge which are allowed our senior
leaders and decision makers to experience for themselves what it's

like one not to see well. And next I started
to you know, asked them to tell products apart, including
shampoo and conditioner. And through this experience they realized, you know,
the problem that blind people experience. I then brought to
their attention the subtle solution that I had placed on

the bottles, which would indicate to them that I raised
stripe with shampoo and I raised circle mint conditioner. And
this is a big har moment for them, you know. Finally,
I then asked them to tell me if they would
be up for making their products accessible and inclusive in
this way and the wholeheartedly egrees just have to rise up. Skateboarding, surfing.

We just keep going like eat up on the board,
keep going, keep going, and never give up man dancing.
Let people know what. In two thousand and sixteen, Tommy
Hill Figure created their first adaptive clothing collection, My ability
is stronger than My disability Boy with CP Surfing, I'm

on staff. Esther Berberg, the company's senior vice president for
sustainability and Innovation, told us the community engagement is where
they also began. We started the line basically in twenties six,
and it was really out of inspiration also from a
lady called Mindy Schreyer she works with She has an

organization called Runway of Dreams, and she always adapted the
fashion for her son, who has a disability, and she
basically approached the organization and said, why can I not
find fashion? And we were so inspired. So our first
collection basically started with that. UM. I really resonated also
with Tommy himself because from his personal background, he's very

well aware of what it means to have children with
special special needs. So yeah, that resonated with him and
I think also with the spirit of the company in general. UM.
So we started with that, and at first collection I
think had a lot of adaptations that were mainly focused on,
for instance, larger openings or different openings or more openings too. Um,

you know, to help people with braces or prosthetics to
actually access the closing. UM. We had magnetic closure stare
to also make sure that you can open things, for
instance with one hand. Um. And then we we evolved
from there. Tommy hill Figure's journey began through a collaboration
with Runway of Dreams, but has evolved due to an

increased opportunity for innovation and also Tommy's personal experience with disability.
Three of his children are autistic. When the idea came
up to do something a bit different for design with
people with special needs, I jumped down the idea right

away because I thought it was fantastic. I couldn't believe
other people weren't doing it, other designers weren't doing it.
But for large companies, the promise of innovation and the
personal drive to create a better world may not be enough.
Leaders want to know is this a business opportunity? As
to told us more about the fascinating ways digital tech, accessibility,

and fashion collide, and firmly believes that their adaptive collections
are a gateway to a wider market. So what I
think is a really exciting field is the is the
combination of tech and digitization with fashion. So we already
see some some interesting innovations in the area of for instance,
like conductive yarns that give you information, so like sweaters

that give you information about the wearer's movements for instance,
or a wearer's temperature or other well being elements. Um,
and we've seen I think it was what was it
called on THENNA I think from Japan, really cool device
where actually uh for people with hearing disability, they would
translate noise into vibrations and light um and then you

can make that into a hair accessory. So that those
kind of things UM, I think will be coming up
much more so the smart SmartWare that can help help
provide extra functionality. But where I get really enthusiastic, I
think is the opportunity for made on the design on demand.
So for now, it's it is really like, even when

we do adaptive, we have to make a choice and
we say, okay, it's it's that it's going to be
that adaptation to that T shirt, and then that's what
we're going to produce, and then you have to have
at least so many hundred pieces of it. I think
where it gets really interesting if we can get to
a space where we can say, okay, you can order,
you can go online, you can say I want that
T shirt and I wanted with that adaptation, or I

wanted with that sizing UM and and the technology is
really developing super rapidly around three D design and manufacturing
on demand. So it will click, I think fairly soon,
and I expect within the next five years we'll definitely
see possibilities becoming more a little bit more mainstream. But
we have seen, for instance, is that seventy of the

consumers that we get are new and then seventy one
percent of those actually go on and shop also from
the mainline. Uh, and the average order value of people
that shop the adaptive line is much much higher. So
that in itself also indicates that, yeah, there is a
real business case for this. The business case for disability
inclusion is becoming clearer. There are over one billion disabled

people in the world, a number that is ever growing
with COVID, and the community's annual discretionary income is over
one point seven trillion dollars. This catches the attention of business,
but does it help us bridge the gap to a
more inclusive world. Jane Burke is one of our executive
producers and a leader an inclusive design and she takes

a different approach. There's one billion people in the world
who are disabled. It's a population the size of China.
We often hear and then we'll hear that the spending
power of disabled people in terms of their discretionary income
is one point seven trillion U s dollars bring their
family and friends in and that's eight trillion US dollars,
which does I will be totally honest and say turn

the heads of leaders, because when everything is about a
profit and loss sheet, eight trillion dollars is so much
money in terms of trying to activate that audience. But
I have really stepped back from solely using those statistics
as ways in which to enter into a conversation because
it places disabled people as customers who need to be served,

who need to be designed for, who need to be
captured and captivated, rather than a methodology of code design
which invites them in to be part of the process.
It focuses disabled people as spenders rather than as creators,
rather than as colleagues. So now the language that I

use is about did you know that in globally the
disability unemployment rate is between fifty and seventy percent? And
then I talk about disabled people being innovative by design
because we live in a world that wasn't designed for us.
We have to move through systems and policies that were
never designed with us and with us in mind. So

we have all of these ideas and innovations and creativity
that are naturally within us. So my proposition to companies
as now, don't think about the money that we're going
to spend in your business. Think about how we're going
to make your products, your culture, and the way in
which you work better in ways in which you could
never imagine. So what comes next? How do we include

disabled people in the design process, creating space for them
to lead, innovate, and build a more inclusive and accessible
world for all. Here is sound Atief on what she
hopes to see in the decade ahead. My dream is
that inclusive design is built in all products and experiences.
There are no barriers for anyone to access anything. I

sincerely hope there comes a time in every company knows
and implements inclusive design from the beginning, from the outset,
resulting in more inclusive experiences for everyone that no one
has left out, that we're all included and able to
experience anything through choice. I think in ten years from

now there there will be significant progress. The world will
be more inclusive and accessible. I can imagine that products
will become easier to identify, easier to open for everyone.
I can see the employment rates for disabled people go
from less than twenty today to more than sev in

the future. We've learned today that so much progress has
been made to make the world more accessible and inclusive,
but it's not enough right now. These stories are exceptional,
but they need to become the norm, because when the
world has not been designed for us, when we face

endless mismatches, the only choice we have is to adapt
to the world, compromising our needs and our ambitions, forcing
us to seek out medical or technological interventions that appear
to fix us. This is known as a medical model
of dealing with disability, and it's outdated and it's outright dangerous.

Surely it's in our power to fix the world instead,
so that we can live in it successfully. What if
instead of looking to fix the needs of disabled people,
we lived in a world where our environment matched our
needs instead with the word disabled need to be repurposed, redefined,
or totally eradicated. Design is such a universal medium and

impacts our lives in a myriad of ways, and yet
careless design discriminates every day. It feels like we have
to challenge the norm design from the start, demand designed
for all, not at the end of a process, but
at the start. The stories today have proven that it

can be done. It feels like this change is beginning
to happen but change is relentless and we need to
try and ensure that all design is universal for us
all from tomorrow. Are you a designer who wants to
know more about inclusive design or are you a disabled
person with an invaluable insight? How would you like to

change the world? Join this conversation at hashtag equal to
Join me next time when we'll be looking at employment
exploring what it's like to have a disability in business
and how employers can make truly inclusive workplaces a reality.
I've been your host, Sophie Morgan. We'll see you next time.
These podcasts have been made possible because of the support

of Procter and Gamble P and g share our ambition
to create a more equal world, a world where everyone
can have equal access and the opera tunity to thrive.
We are very grateful for their partnership in making these
conversations a reality. Of people with a direct involvement in
the production of the podcast, including guests identify as disabled.

This podcast was created by Greg Nugent, co founder of
Harder Than You Think. I'm Sophie Morgan, your host and
executive producer. Fellow executive producers are Chanaid Burke, Greg Nugent,
Barnaby Spurrier, Laura i'ms, Mark Pritchard, and Kimberly Dobrenner. Thank

you to the i PC and Channel four for their
support and use of archive material. Thanks to our podcast
production partner, Stripped Media, and also to Seneca Women for
their assistance with distributing this show. If you want to
follow the equal to story and join the conversation hashtag
equal to, go to our website ht Whitey dot world,

where you will also find the transcript and video versions
of the podcast, along with subtitles and a b SL
signed version in the coming days. M
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