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Web Accessibility: Towards Digital Inclusion in websites and democratization of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) are vital in today’s society, allowing everyone, regardless of circumstances, to access information, work, and leisure opportunities. It is crucial that these technologies are accessible to all, including people who are elderly, those with limited resources, or have disabilities.

The “digital gap” points to the inequality between those connected to the Internet and those without access. In 2000, some 413 million were online. This grew to 3.4 billion in 2016 and 4.66 billion by 2020. Although it is advancing, 40% of the global population remains disconnected.

Digital inclusion and its main obstacles

According to the European Commission, e-inclusion aims for everyone to participate in and benefit from the digital economy and society.

This involves actions in several areas:

  • Ensuring access to ICT with infrastructure, affordable tariffs, and a user-friendly interface.
  • Apply assistive technologies to include people with disabilities.
  • Promote digital literacy, teaching ICT skills from basic education.
  • Promote social inclusion with specific programs for digitally marginalized groups.

The digital gap not only divides the connected from the disconnected but other obstacles limit the digital citizenship of certain groups.

  • Lack of skills due to the lack of training required to use the Internet and its online services.
  • Lack of confidence, partly due to lack of skills, causes some people to feel fearful about entering the digital world.
  • Inadequate designs, since not all digital products and services are accessible and easy to use.

The most vulnerable groups in society, such as women, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and rural communities, suffer more from the digital gap.


The goal of digital inclusión

Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, intended his invention to benefit everyone. However, to achieve digital inclusion, specific challenges must to be addressed:

Accessibility: limited accessibility for people with visual or hearing disabilities hinders inclusion. To overcome this, devices and content must be adapted by removing barriers.

Cost: The high cost of Internet access affects low-income people. In the European Union, universal access is sought with providers offering affordable prices.

Digital skills: Access to the Internet is crucial, but insufficient if there is a lack of training. This is crucial, especially for elder people.

Relevant content and services: Digital inclusion implies local content in minority languages and useful services, according to ITU.

Advantages of digital inclusion

The Internet and its services positively impact social progress, from economic growth to the empowerment of disadvantaged groups.

Being a digital citizen offers benefits such as:

  • Ample job opportunities: In an interconnected world, digital profiles such as programmers and data analysts are in high demand. Access to networking platforms makes it easier to find jobs and finance projects.
  • Abundant educational options: Internet connectivity provides training options, from nano-degrees in digital skills to mobile learning, which allows learning from mobile devices. There is also access to educational video games, among others.
  • Time optimization: Digital services allow efficient time management, increasing productivity by performing tasks remotely and quickly.
  • Expanded access to information: Online media and shared repositories, such as Wikipedia, improve education and enrich social and political life.
  • Increased protection from digital crime: Digital literacy reduces the likelihood of falling for online scams such as “phishing”.

Initiatives and efforts to improve integration in the digital environment

Different international organizations are working to bridge the digital gap and encourage participation in the digital environment:

UNESCO leads projects globally that seek to improve participation in the digital society, focusing on areas such as health and environmental conservation. It also coordinates the Mobile Learning Week to explore the potential of online education.

Within the framework of the Horizon 2020 program, the European Commission funds numerous digital inclusion initiatives, especially focused on accessibility for people with various disabilities.

Digital entertainment, which encompasses audiovisual content and video games, emerges as a valuable tool to facilitate entry into the digital world. In fact, the Creative Europe program promotes the development of this type of content in the countries belonging to the European Union.


Types of disabilities

Physical disability:

It is the repercussion of a condition in any organ or body system.

Intellectual disability:

Presents with significant limitations in intelligence and behavioral adaptation. It appears before the age of 18 and the diagnosis, prognosis and intervention differ from mental or psychosocial disability approaches.

Mental disability:

Impairment of functioning and behavior in persons with mental disability, proportional to the severity and chronicity of the dysfunction. They involve alterations in the neuronal system and unmanageable events that trigger an alteration of reality.

Psychosocial disability:

The restriction is caused by the social environment and is centered on a temporary or permanent impairment of the psyche due to a lack of timely diagnosis and adequate treatment.

Multiple disabilities:

Presence of two or more physical, sensory, intellectual, and/or mental disabilities.

Sensory disability:

Refers to hearing impairment and visual impairment.

Hearing impairment:

The restriction in the perception of external sounds.

Visual disability:

Is the alteration of the vision system, structures, and functions associated with it. It is an alteration of visual acuity, visual field, ocular motility, color vision, or depth, which determine an impairment of visual acuity and is classified according to its degree.

A person may have more than one disability, for example, deaf-mutes have a hearing limitation and a speech limitation, or those suffering from cerebral palsy have motor and speech problems.

International celebrations:

  • September 23 is celebrated as International Sign Language Day, proclaimed by the UN in November 2017.

The date celebrates the founding in 1951 of the World Federation of the Deaf, an NGO now recognized as a consultative body to the UN and the highest global authority on the rights of people with hearing impairment.

  • Every year since 1958, the International Week of the Deaf is celebrated in the world during the last week of September. From September 24 to 30.

The goal of this week is to promote the social inclusion of individuals with hearing impairment and chronic deafness. It also wants to raise awareness about their daily challenges, their interaction with the environment, and the early detection of hearing disorders in newborns.

Inclusion Colors:

Comex, in collaboration with the Memoria and Tolerancia Museum, the Art Department of the Iberoamericana University, and the Civil Association “Yo También”, present ” Inclusion Colors”.

The partners in this project compiled descriptions of priority groups in Mexico, a directory of support institutions, their color identification, and recommendations for inclusive language.

In the first stage, 14 groups were considered: motor and visual disabilities, gender, elderly, children, adolescents, youth, fatphobia, LGBTQ+, domestic workers, people with HIV, anti-Semitism, indigenous peoples, journalists, and autism. At the event, groups without defined colors were encouraged to propose one.


At EthicsGlobal, we uphold the importance of increasing understanding of these circumstances to move towards a community where the equal value of all is recognized, and where people with disabilities can access the same opportunities as any individual.

Read: Web Accessibility: Towards Digital Inclusion part one, we recommend: How to prevent workplace harassment?

If you are interested in learning more about these topics, we encourage you to follow us on all our social networks: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

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