The last few decades of legal and policy reform have brought dramatic change for many Australians with disability; better access to health and support services, a move away from institutionalised living and greater focus on accessibility. However, today many children with disability are still being denied access to education in regular schools alongside their non-disabled peers and discrimination and attitudinal barriers to employment mean that alarming numbers of disabled people are shut out of the labour market and denied opportunities for socio-economic advancement.

The elimination of attitudinal barriers that stand in the way of the realisation of fundamental human rights, meaningful participation and inclusion remains a fundamental concern.

In an age of mass-reach media, the potential for media and advertising to be used as cultural tools should not be overlooked; to “disrupt” and “reshape” the way that society perceives disability and stimulate cultural transformation for a world in which people with disability are recognised, respected and valued as equal citizens and full participants in every area of life.

Cátia Malaquias

Founder and Director
Starting With Julius

Cátia is a lawyer, a mother of three young children and a founder and Director of Starting With Julius, a not for profit organisation committed to promoting the equal representation of people with disability in advertising, media and education.

Cátia is also a Director of the Attitude Foundation and Down Syndrome Australia. In 2016 Cátia co-founded All Means All – The Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education, the School Inclusion Parent Network (SIPN) and the Global Alliance for Disability in Media (GADIM), an international platform that encourages actions to increase and improve representation of people with disability in the media.

Cátia has worked to promote widespread recognition of the right of students with disability to an inclusive education. She has also made a visible contribution to the sustained and significant representation of models with disability in mainstream advertising and has worked with Kmart, Target and other brands.

Cátia has spoken at the United Nations in New York and Geneva and in 2015 she participated in the United Nations Day of General Discussion in Geneva on the right to inclusive education, which culminated in the General Comment No.4 (Article 24: Right to Inclusive Education) released by the United Nations in October 2016.

In 2017 Cátia was a Western Australian of the Year Finalist and in 2016 she was an Australian Human Rights Commission Community Individual Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award Finalist.

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