Marlee Matlin, Academy Award winning actress and advocate for persons with disabilities, was the special guest headlining a panel discussion on Thursday, 12 November 2009, on the impact of the global economic crisis on women and men with disabilities. Disabled persons represent an estimated 10 per cent of the world’s population, or some 650 million people worldwide. They are often excluded and marginalized, and are particularly vulnerable in times of crisis. Ms. Matlin urged that people with disabilities be “counted in” in efforts to stimulate and support economic recovery.
The event also featured presentations by ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, Employment Sector Executive Director José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, and other experts including Ambassador Dáithí Ó Ceallaigh, Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations, Mr. Peter Purton, Policy Officer on Equality and Employment Rights, Trades Union Congress, United Kingdom and Mr. Bernie Jones, International Director, Shaw Trust Ltd, United Kingdom.