Diversity is a current buzzword in politics, but in the EU, people with disabilities are not achieving the gains made by women and ethnic minorities. This research examined barriers and facilitating factors through a literature review and interviews with politicians and political activists in five European countries. Six categories of barriers and facilitating factors were found: networks, recruitment and mentoring, resources (money, time and energy), the “hierarchy of impairments,” accessibility of political spaces and activities, and laws and policies. Key recommendations include removing access barriers to political participation, from voting to holding office, including physical and procedural barriers in political spaces; ensuring that equalities legislation covers politicians; eliminating barriers imposed by benefits systems; promoting direct support for political activists, candidates and office-holders with disabilities, including
access to necessary services and supports; encouraging parties to recruit and mentor disabled people with leadership potential; and considering quotas and job-sharing.
Disability & Society, published online: 21 Apr 2020