Despite their success in captivating global audiences on social media and amassing millions of followers, disabled content creators face exclusion when working behind the camera in Advertising, TV, Radio, and Film, according to a new survey.
The survey, conducted among 50 disabled content creators worldwide, revealed that 73% of respondents felt the industry was exclusionary towards them, even though 62% expressed an interest in working in Advertising, TV, Radio, and Film.
The study also highlighted that 90% of disabled content creators believed that the attitudes and mindsets of individuals played a crucial role in the inclusion of disabled people on production sets.
Barriers to recruitment
A significant barrier reported by over a quarter (27%) of participants was an unwelcoming industry culture that lacked awareness of how to engage with people with disabilities. Additionally, 21% felt that the industry’s representation on and off screen was inadequate, making it less appealing as a career choice.
However, disabled content creators have demonstrated many essential skills through their online content creation journey. From video editing to directing, scriptwriting to producing, and camera operating to subtitling, these creators possess valuable expertise that could greatly contribute to the industry.
Believe In Talent
In response to these findings, Unilever’s Act 2 Unstereotype initiative has launched the ‘Believe In Talent’ campaign to foster inclusivity and accessibility for people with disabilities in the production industry. The campaign focuses on three key initiatives to bring about lasting change.
Firstly, Unilever’s Inclusive Set Commitment ensures that all productions with a budget exceeding €100k will include at least one person with a disability as part of the production crew. This commitment aims to create tangible opportunities for disabled individuals to contribute their talents.
Secondly, Unilever has released an open-source guide called the Inclusive Production Toolkit, developed in collaboration with the disabled community. This resource offers production companies and creative agencies a comprehensive framework of best practices and principles to effectively support individuals with disabilities behind the camera.
Finally, Unilever has partnered with Evenbreak, a UK-based inclusive job board, to facilitate the connection between disabled candidates and inclusive employers. Through this collaboration, Unilever intends to create mentorship opportunities for people interested in pursuing a career in production.
Aline Santos, Chief Brand Officer and Chief Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Unilever, emphasised the importance of tapping into the talent of disabled individuals and eradicating bias. Santos stated: “We need to be committed to eradicating bias and driving equity for the disabled community to make society more inclusive.”
Unilever’s Act 2 Unstereotype initiative aligns with its broader mission of eliminating harmful stereotypes from marketing and advertising. By dismantling systemic bias and removing barriers, Unilever aims to enhance equity for underserved and underrepresented communities within the advertising industry and society.
With the ‘Believe In Talent’ campaign, Unilever is taking significant steps towards building a more inclusive and accessible production industry. By harnessing the untapped potential of disabled content creators and challenging existing norms, the initiative aims to create a transformative impact on the industry and society.