Archive for the ‘disability’ Tag

Man’s Greatest Invention And Inconvenience

drop-kerbWe are told the invention of the wheel was one of our greatest technological events. It mean we could transport loads considerably heavier than a single man could carry on his own or could be loaded on a pack animal. The wheel has given us a level of mobility that far exceeded any that was achieved by our own efforts or those of the horses we domesticated.

For people with mobility problems it has also given the freedom to move without the need of physical help from other people. Unfortunately the invention that has helped us in so many positive ways has for some be come a disability in its own right because public services and private commerce still ignore the needs of those who rely on wheelchairs. Even the enactment of the disability discrimination act has failed to redress the situation.

Its not a problem unique to the UK, in fact we are probably doing better than most other places, many have failed to ensure their buildings and transport services are accessible, even simple, low cost changes such as dropped kerbs are uncommon in most countries. In many European cities its rare to see wheel chair users not because they don’t have disabled people but because they are so inaccessible. The disability discrimination act was prompted by an EU directive. Its a pity the countries that are so supportive of the EU seem so lax at implementing its own regulations

The Laws Against Gender

There are many natural physiological and psychological differences between the genders, not just in humans but in all species. These differences are what create and drive sexual reproduction. As man has become more socialised and developed a moral and emotional self we have started to introduce laws that aim to reduce and in some cases eliminate the differences between the genders. Universal suffrage and sex discrimination legislation are perhaps the most significant.

To allow working women have children without risking loosing their careers we have maternity leave regulations. Even fathers now have an opportunity to spend a little time with their new born without sacrificing their holiday entitlements. Now the Equality and Human Rights Commission wants to see more sharing of statutory leave between parents and a greater entitlement. The problem with all this legislation is each attempt to redress the differences between the genders creates discrimination and disadvantages to others. You cannot use laws to rid society of the differences between the sexes.

Those who cannot have children not only suffer as a consequence but have to support those who do and do not have the opportunity to take the extra paid and unpaid leave provided by statutory maternity leave. Infertility is as much a disability as any other but these individuals get nothing were as everyone else gets help and support, its discriminatory, clear and simple. Even help for the infertile is capped by the NHS. Those who choose not to have children are also discriminated against. Often having to fill-in for those who are on maternity leave or need time off for their children. In a fair and equal society we all have rights and responsibilities. If I exercise my right to have a child I should also take full responsibility for the consequences and not expect the state pick up much of the cost or others to be inconvenienced because of our actions.