What is GAAD?
Thursday, May 20, 2021 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).
The main purpose of GAAD is to build awareness about digital accessibility and inclusion. The focus is on getting people talking and thinking about the importance of accessibility for the inclusion of over 1 Billion people with disabilities worldwide.
So Why is GAAD Important?
I. Access to Content
The main purpose of the internet is to provide is to provide all its users with global access to data and communications. However, for over 1 Billion people in the world with disabilities the internet is a significantly harder place to navigate than it should be.
According to the WebAIM Million Report in 2020, 98.1% Home Pages have at least 1 WCAG 2.0 Compliance Error. On average there are also 69.1 errors per home page, making most of these websites inaccessible to people with disabilities.
II. Breaking Barriers
Several Barriers exist for people with disabilities in the workforce based on pre-conceived notions that are not based in fact.
According to a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), about 368 million people of working-age worldwide have a disability (UN Disability Fact Sheet). Unemployment rates for this group can be up to 80% in certain countries, which is more than twice as high than for people without disabilities. The primary reasons for this are:
- Employers feel that people with disabilities are not able to effectively perform their required tasks.
- Or that installation of special facilities would be too expensive.
These, in fact are both untrue based on statistics. About 56% of the total accommodations required for people with disabilities cost absolutely nothing to add. And in most cases employers average a total not exceeding $600. In addition to this, companies that higher people with disabilities also see higher retention rates, reducing the high cost of employee turnover. It is essential that all digital platforms related to – education, employment or any other content are completely accessible to people with disabilities to ensure that we help break these barriers.
III. Building Awareness
It is important to shed light on the importance of accessibility on GAAD. Accessibility is something that most of us would tend to take for granted and today we should all take at least a minute to be empathetic to our fellow humans. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that several inequalities do exist all around the globe, however if we come together as a people, we would be able to take on any challenges head-on.
If you have some time, please speak to any people in your lives living with disabilities and use this as an opportunity to learn more about the struggles that they face and how they are able to overcome those struggles using technology.
For the 10th Anniversary of GAAD, we at 247 accessible Documents support BarrierBreak who have launched the #CovidAccessibleBugBounty campaign giving people the opportunity to put their accessibility testing skills to use. Please visit https://www.barrierbreak.com/gaad/ to know more about the campaign and to submit a bug. Let’s try to make some positive changes this GAAD.