Creativity for change
There are 1.3 billion people in the world with a disability. But they’re being ignored says Casey; their spending power isn’t even being acknowledged. The problem is that there is an assumption made that the only people thinking about diversity and inclusion are those who work in those roles, whose day to day focus is on furthering that agenda.
The reality, says Casey, is that D&I people are “overwhelmed with these competing agendas…Where they’re going to go first is where the loudest noise is.” A state of play which means disability inclusion often isn’t considered.
For Casey, it is the creative industries that can shout that loudest, and that can “express how society is, to tell the truth.” She praises the recent work of AMV BBDO who created the #DIVERSISH campaign for The Valuable 500. The campaign demonstrates, with humour and creative edge, the tick box approach some business leaders still take when it comes to addressing diversity and inclusion.
As Casey says, “That film is the truth.” She believes in the energy of the industry and the people who work in it to bring about change: “For me the creative industry, the people who look after brands, the agencies, the communication, you are my energy. I owe you all so much. You’re the truth tellers, the imaginers, you’re the people that can fix this issue of only 4% consider disability.”
Disability has always been on the side-lines
That 4% figure relates to the reality that, while 90% of businesses claim to prioritise disability inclusion, only 4% actually do. For Casey, “What’s happening in business is reflective of what’s happening in society.”
She pointed out that we design more clothes for dogs than we do for people with disabilities. The industry serves its canine friends better than the 13 million people with a disability in the UK, who have a combined spending power of £249 billion. Casey wants business to recognise this powerful potential: “The crisis exists but the opportunity is even bigger.”
She urges businesses to stop side-lining disability while other parts of the D&I debate are prioritised. Casey believes that “There’s no hierarchy for inclusion or exclusion,” and she wants businesses and their leaders to recognise this.