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Social Factors page

From: Sailesh Panchang <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 19:11:15 -0500
Message-ID: <002f01c3e145$6b0a8370$a201a8c0@deque.local>
To: "'EOWG (E-mail)'" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Please consider if any of this  needs to be incorporated in social factors page(1)
Historically PWD have been excluded from society, treated as lesser citizens, made to depend on others for basic needs due to an environment that is insensitive to their special access requirements. Recent years have witnessed a social awareness among a few of the advanced countries that has lead to building    / retrofitting physical facilities with accessibility features. For many existing structures  this is very difficult to  accomplish if at all. Making schools, court houses, government offices, shopping malls, libraries,health care centers, air / rail / bus terminals, work places, etc. accessible   requires time and financial resources... the latter  is not easy to come by  for most developing nations and even for some advanced nations.
Advances in information and communication technologies  and an accessible Web can play a vital role in  reducing the  disparity in access that PWD have endured. A computer with Internet connectivity  and requisite assistive technology can at once offer access to distance education, markets, communication, work, etc. to many PWDs and reduce the daily hardship of navigating an inaccessible physical environment. Many countries might find that providing ICT and AT is a  viable / cost-effective alternative  for social inclusion of PWD.  This will alleviate the discrimination thrust upon PWD by physical barriers. It will make society realize that PWD can be independent, productive and contributing citizens and   thus change its attitude towards PWD. Web content that is accessible and usable will   encourage PWD to  use computers and the Web - this will bring down disparity in computer and Internet usage as well.
*1. Presenting the Case for Web Accessibility: Social Factors - - latest draft: http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/bcase/soc.html
- changelog: http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/bcase/
Sailesh Panchang
Senior Accessibility Engineer 
Deque Systems,11180  Sunrise Valley Drive, 
4th Floor, Reston VA 20191
Tel: 703-225-0380 Extension 105 
E-mail: sailesh.panchang@deque.com
Fax: 703-225-0387
* Look up <http://www.deque.com> *
Received on Thursday, 22 January 2004 19:07:27 UTC

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