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The UK makes big steps towards inclusion and customer experience for men and women with disabilities

Photo courtesy of the Guardian

For disabled men and women, shopping is typically a point of angst, anger, and sadness. The U.K. is working to change that with the implementation of Purple Tuesday.

“I can go into a shop and be made to feel invisible," says Mike Adams. "There’s an apprehension. Staff are unsure of engaging with me so they swerve the conversation altogether.”

Adams has since founded a not-for-profit, Purple, that promotes the power of disabled men and women. Most recently, he started "Purple Tuesday," during which stores highlighted the color of the disability rights movement and made conscious efforts to improve the shopping experience for those who are disabled.

Purple's original goal was to engage 50 companies in the day. Their end result was 700.

The goal of the event was to “demonstrate to retailers that there are things that can be done at no cost” and to “start some momentum for businesses to see disabled people as, first and foremost, customers,” says Adams.

Though this is a great step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go in terms of disability accessibility in the UK. “Initiatives such as Purple Tuesday are a fantastic step forward,” says Hilary Stephenson, the managing director of Sigma. “However, inclusion should be an everyday consideration – it’s not enough to simply be inclusive for one day a year and leave it at that.”

While there is still large room for improvement, Purple Tuesday has made fantastic progress in the effort of inclusion and breaking down barriers that many people face across the world.