The nub of my and others' unease with the current International Symbol of Access is that it excludes over 97 per cent of people with disabilities, because it is all about wheelchairs, rather than accessibility. To those who fear that the competition I've launched is aimed at throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater and getting rid of the wheelchair symbol altogether: this is definitely not the case. What I'm asking is for designers to reimagine the concept of accessibility and to come up with a revised symbol or set of symbols that will be more inclusive.
In 1969, the universal symbol for accessibility -- a blue square overlaid in white with the stylized image of a figure in a wheelchair -- made its first appearance. But the symbol is still built around a stick figure -- not a person. But the most important problem with the International Symbol of Access is this: it is exclusionary. The symbol is all about the wheelchair -- even though the majority of disabilities are not mobility-related. That is why, with the enthusiastic co-operation of the Ontario College of Art and Design University, I have launched an international competition to find a contemporary symbol.
I believe that women entrepreneurship will not only give a boost to the economy by increasing the number of employed people and leading towards a more gender-equal growth. Not being financially independent is one of the main factors that prove as a hindrance in self-empowerment of women, especially in patriarchal societies like India.
With so many international atrocities committed against women on a daily basis, I as a woman in the west sometimes feel that there is very little that we can do. But living in the lap of luxury doesn't remove the sadness one feels when they see the news reports. I feel overwhelmed by the state of women and believe we should act more. This International Women's Day let us educate ourselves and the society at large.