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Britain is embracing diversity. So why are people with disabilities still excluded?

There are more women in boardrooms than ever, and attitudes about race and sexuality are shifting. But millions of disabled people are still shut out of society
David Weir at the London Paralympics, 2012

‘It seems a long time since the London Paralympics and all those promises of changed perceptions.’ Photograph: Joe Toth/BPI/Corbis

Rejoice, rejoice. Britain’s biggest companies hit a target of ensuring half the population have one quarter of seats in their boardrooms. Sarcasm aside, this is cause for a degree of celebration, since the proportion of women at this top level of business governance has doubled in four years. Most are non-executives, not involved in daily operations, but it remains a step in the right direction.

This small advance shows how far there is to go before we see genuine equality for women from the workplace to Westminster. Yet no sooner had Lord Davies revealed the end to all-male boardrooms among Britain’s biggest companies, then Vince Cable and Chuka Umunna raised questions over ethnic diversity. They have a point: representation is too low, while the number of all-white boards is increasing. But for all the backslapping talk of tolerance in Britain, attitudes are shifting fast when it comes to gender, race and sexuality.

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