News and Politics
Spanish Parliament Bans Bullfighting
Spain’s parliament has banned “comic” bullfighting events with dwarves in costumes, aligning with EU directives against discrimination towards people with disabilities.
The decision was met with praise by disability rights groups and criticised by a few remaining performers who staged a protest outside the parliament.
The tradition of dwarves dressed as firefighters or clowns chasing bulls without killing them has declined in popularity and was seen as mockery towards people with dwarfism.
Network Rail Changes Hailed Discriminatory
Could disabled people be ousted from using trains following ‘discriminatory’ Network Rail changes?
When using public transport, those with disabilities often require additional support from in-person staff, such as train guards. As technology develops, public transport systems are reducing the number of staff manning train and bus stations, leaving travellers to utilise touch screens to purchase tickets and board vehicles on their own accord. Which is a great, hassle-free experience for those without disabilities. However, for anyone who might struggle to use touch screens or board without assistance, the recently proposed Network Rail changes more or less prevent use.
The specific changes suggested include removing ticket office staff and train guards from railway stations across the UK. These initiatives support cost cuts and the modernisation of the country’s train network. However, this could devastate the disabled community.
In response to the news, 150 groups have campaigned to stop the changes and consider the impact on the disabled community. Today, many of these groups presented petitions at Downing Street. These groups are calling for ticket offices to remain open and for staffing on platforms to not only remain the same but increase.
In an interview with the Metro, one affected traveller, Alison Greenan, who is blind said, “If guards are taken off trains permanently, I won’t be able to use the rail network again. My local station in Mills Hill is already unmanned and I don’t feel comfortable getting on trains by myself because I need a guard to use the ramp and I need to book assistance in advance, which is becoming harder and harder to do. Then there are the tickets, I can’t use touch-screen machines because of my syndrome and I have to rely on a guard being on the train where stations are unmanned. Kevin Greenan at Mills Hill station holding his white cane and a placard with his message to government. As it is, I need someone to get me to the train in the first place and the guard to get me on. I did go down to London Moorfields yearly for appointments for my eyes, but without guards and assistance, I won’t be able to go by rail. Disabled people have been the invisible minority for years and it doesn’t matter who you vote for, nothing ever changes. The government hasn’t given any thought to our needs. We are here, but they act like they don’t want us to be here.’
In response to the backlash, the government is considering the proposals but has released a statement to assure disabled train users that they endeavour to offer more assistance to disabled passengers, “Everyone should be able to travel with confidence and the safety of passengers will be central to any reforms. Our Access for All programme has delivered step-free accessible routes at over 200 stations, with additional improvements at over 1,500 stations. By modernising the railway and moving staff out of ticket offices, we can enable them to provide more face-to-face assistance, so all passengers get the help they need.”
While it is yet to be seen whether these cost cuts will actually result in additional face-to-face assistance, the disabled community remains sceptical as to whether their ability to use UK train networks will be affected.
Parents with Learning Difficulties Face Discrimination, Investigation Finds
In England, parents with learning difficulties are, astonishingly, 50 times more likely to have their children taken into care
The investigation was conducted by Channel 5, campaign group Support Not Separation (SNS) and in close partnership with WinVisible, a disabled women’s organisation. In a broadcast this week, it was shockingly revealed that, while only 0.15 per cent of parents have a learning difficulty, 8.1 per cent of all children taken into care were removed from their parent’s care after social services pinpointed their learning difficulty as a cause for concern. As a result, parents with learning difficulties at 50 times more likely to have their child removed than those without. this means they are more than 50 times more likely to have their child removed than a parent without learning difficulties.
The study looked at freedom of information responses from 116 local education authorities and 5,820 cases of a child being taken into care to draw their conclusions. They found 5,820 cases of children being taken into care due to concerns that a parent had a learning difficulty and 5,405 cases where social workers were concerned over a parent’s physical disability.
During the programme, Anna, a parent with learning difficulties, gave her opinion on the shocking revelation, “I find it really upsetting and I’m hurt because I’m not going to see my children now until they are 18.” She continued, “I feel like there are a lot of people out there that have got their kids and got a chance because of the support they got, so I wish I had the right support. I wouldn’t have any more children because since having my third child, I’ve realised I can’t keep putting myself through it, it’s too much pain and it’s hurting.”
Another mother who faced a forced adoption but has since been reunited with her daughter said, “Time was stolen from us where we’re being punished for something that was not my fault. And we now have a lot of work to try to do, to try and get to that normal parent-child relationship.”
Furthermore, statistics also revealed that children who have never suffered physical harm at home and are taken into care due to their mother’s learning difficulties or physical disability are four times more likely to suffer from abuse once in the care system.
WinVisible and SNS have said that the results of the investigation combined with these additional statistics confirm that disabled mothers face considerable “discrimination and hostility”. In a press release from the two organisations, officials also went on to say these parents “face an uphill battle to stop social workers and the family courts taking our children from us”.
Brand Advance Group Hires New CEO, Deborah Gbadamosi
Today, Brand Advance Group, announces that Deborah Gbadamosi will take over from Christopher Kenna as European CEO
Brand Advance Group of Companies, publisher of Included Magazine, was established by founder Christopher Kenna in 2018. And at the company’s inception, it was the first dedicated global diversity media network: helping agencies and brands reach diverse demographics at scale with authenticity through minority media, technology and consultancy & insights.
Brand Advance Group now provides global clients with a full 360 service for reaching minority or underrepresented consumers, helping brands and agencies break the 10% growth barrier with access to new and growing communities and their spend.
However, this month, Kenna stepped down as CEO in the UK and Europe, allowing him to take over in North America. Speaking of the move, Kenna says, “2022 was a fantastic year for us with our revenue and new client billings rising from $5m to $16m, and a forecast of $28m in client billings by the end of 2023. This is fantastic news not just for us as a business, but also for our network of minority-owned and operated partners globally. Additionally, the growth also comes with a need for me to develop personally as a founder, striving to become a leader who can drive growth in global teams. And, Deborah Gbadamosi joining our team is a large part of this growth. Being someone I have admired within the industry for a long time, I hope to learn from Deborah’s amazing experience and qualities. My full-time move to NYC to lead our North American operations could not have been possible without the knowledge that EMEA was being left in such capable hands. I look forward to the year ahead and developing both personally and long side our fantastic team.”
Deborah Gbadamosi is a global media leader with over 20 years of experience developing and implementing digital strategies for FMCG, automotive, finance and tech brands, including previously working as the Global Agency Director at Microsoft and Executive Director at OMD EMEA.
Speaking over her new position, Gbadamosi says, “I’m beyond delighted to join Brand Advance Group and lead the next chapter of growth. Christopher and his team have built an incredible business rooted in inclusion, not just in their planning of media and creative but also in the way they operate, hire, partner and behave. I plan on bringing my experience in nurturing a strong performing team and understanding of client needs to continue shaping and defining Brand Advance Group.”
She continues, “The aim is to keep our business at the forefront of change. I’ve had the pleasure of working with progressive media leaders as well as forward-thinking clients and partners who embraced the need for systemic change. It has positively impacted how we approach inclusive audiences, brand safety, representation and measurable outcomes. I’m keen to keep collaborating with these open-minded humans because we still have a long way to go. With Chris in the US and me in the UK, we’ll ensure Brand Advance Group continues to challenge the status quo, forge new partnerships and bring about widespread diverse and inclusive advertising solutions and practices.”
In the 12 months leading up to Gbadamosi’s appointment, Brand Advance Group of Companies has expanded from the UK to France, Germany, India, Canada and the US. Excitingly, the 2021 to 2022 year-on-year Growth was 330%, with a forecast for 300% growth in 2023.
BA Creative, a subsidiary of Brand Advance Group, has also had a fantastic year since its launch in 2022, seeing new client billings of $10m+ and the global growth of the BA Creative, BA Films and BA Influencer teams.
Additionally, Brand Advance Group’s data and insights companies DECiA and Cultural Intelligence chase continued to innovate and provide clients with access to global insights, media planning and buying and strategy tools specifically aimed at increasing agency teams’ access to minority communities for their clients.
In 2023 and beyond, Brand Advance Group of Companies will continue to thrive, incite change and ensure the media industry hears our voices.