My week: Andy Rickell

Scope's executive director focuses on campaigning, despite the pain in his overused foot.

Andy Rickell
Andy Rickell

Monday: My left foot hurts - it's probably down to more than 40 years of overuse to compensate for my cerebral palsy. I am called in to do an interview on Radio 4, commenting on the new Equality and Human Rights Commission. I'm looking forward to having an organisation that takes a holistic approach to equality, but I have a healthy scepticism about where attention might be focused.

Tuesday: I continue to get emails about Katie Thorpe, the 15-year-old with cerebral palsy whose mother wants her to have a hysterectomy because she feels menstruation would be too confusing for her. This is difficult for the parents, but I feel that Katie's reproductive and human rights have been overlooked. Later, I receive an email from the mother of a disabled girl, who says it's important for disabled children to have a sense that their bodies are theirs and that no one should be allowed to perform operations on them unnecessarily. It's good to hear from parents who support us on this issue.

Wednesday: I'm up at 5am to get from my home in Cirencester to London for a parliamentary lobby, organised by Our Lives, Our Choices, supporting Lord Ashley's Independent Living Bill. The disabled people's movement sees the right to independent living as the missing plank of government policy. Two incidents illustrate the barriers disabled people face - we are put in Westminster Hall because the central lobby is inaccessible, and we're halfway through the event before it is announced that the toilet is accessible. What a relief for everyone!

Thursday: I am concentrating on the campaigning role of the sector. Today I am reviewing the latest draft of a report commissioned by a new alliance of mainly disabled-led organisations called Disability Lib (Listen, Include, Build). It will make challenging reading for mainstream infrastructure bodies. Later, I attend a star-studded party to mark the relaunch of Disability Now, the editorially independent magazine based at our offices. To me, it's the only publication representing the voice of disabled people in the UK.

Friday: At the Times Responsible Business Conference, I talk about practical ways to seek disabled employees. Someone tells me I do not look disabled! Disabled activists say disability is a social construction that can be eradicated through cultural change and legislation. As society changes, perhaps I won't be disadvantaged because of attitudes or behaviour - but my foot will still be sore.

- Scope is a national cerebral palsy charity.

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