Ableism during COVID-19


You might already be familiar with things like racism/sectarianism/sexism, but one “-ism” that is seemingly more and more over looked during the pandemic is “Ableism”.

But what is ableism?

Your mind probably jumps to thinking about places, and how physically accessible they are for those with physical disabilities -things like automatic doors and ramps. Or maybe you started thinking about ableist slurs like the “R” word…? These are both examples of where ableism can come into play, but during COVID-19, ableism has taken on a new face, and some new words.

How often have you heard someone complain “it’s only the most vulnerable at risk”? How often have you heard someone question the restrictions saying “that’s a bit extreme, why should I do that? I’m healthy anyway”. How often have you heard the suggestion that “we should just go for herd immunity” or “go back to normality and just let the vulnerable stay inside”. These are the new words of ableism.

By using these words and not considering the people who make up “the most vulnerable”, we hurt those who fall into this category and we reduce their lives down to nothing more than a medical condition. We don’t consider how much they contribute to our society and to our communities, their friends, families, or loved ones. We don’t even consider that they are real people, with real feelings and emotions – because logic only states that no one would be ok with their life and health being put on the line just for the sake of having things like a “normal” Saturday night out or a holiday.

COVID has been so challenging for everyone, there is no question in that. But sometimes our thoughtlessness really hurts our communities. There are over 14.1 million people with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability in the UK, and each of them will have been affected by COVID in a different way.

Some of them might be petrified right now and have stuck strictly to shielding, others include some of our children and young people who still have so much of their lives ahead of them and are struggling without having the same social support, others include even our Dr’s, nurses, and other medical professionals and key workers who have been giving their absolute all to try and get us all through this. Not all of these people will fit your image of what a disabled or “sick” person looks like -maybe some of them do- but regardless, all of them have so much worth which is totally erased by these kinds of ableist sentiments.

So next time you hear about “only the most vulnerable”, or before you go to share that post  suggesting that the rules shouldn’t apply to you if you are able-bodied and healthy – I challenge you to consider those 14.1 million people, and what that could mean for each of them.

Sure, masks can be uncomfortable, sanitising constantly is a bit of an inconvenience, and the ever changing rules can be frustrating and confusing – but is your “normality” worth our lives?

2020 was a year where we needed to band together and support each other more than ever, and no doubt this is still vital in 2021 too. So be kind, be compassionate, and let’s make sure that we don’t leave anyone behind as we are navigating our way through these challenging times. There is still so much we need to do about ableism in our society, but considering how it affects our communities is a good place to start. This may feel like an unending struggle – but it wont go on forever – lets get through it together.

Article written by Kayla-Megan Burns & Aspen Lynch
Got your own story to tell?  Get in contact here
Read more news here


BAME Rep Newsletter

Young people at the 2021 climate march

Why Young People’s voices are vital to tackle Climate Change

Movies - Man and woman with dog eating popcorn on sofa

Black History Month: 10 movies to add to your watchlist

Black History Month - light box spelling out BHM

Black History Month events happening in Glasgow

Mental Health and Wellbeing - the word hope spelt out using wooden letters and a green bow.

How to sustain good Mental Health and Wellbeing

Female Black Writers - girl reading book in nature.

10 Female Black Writers you should be reading

TEDx UniversityofStrathclyde

How To Mentally Prepare for University

Let’s Prepare for University!

Freshers 2021: Nightlife in Glasgow – Venues

Freshers 2021: Nightlife in Glasgow – Clubs

Freshers 2021: Nightlife in Glasgow – Bars

Freshers 2021: Restaurants We Recommend!

Freshers 2021: Coffee Shops

Freshers 2021: Lunch choices

Munro Bagging 101

Welcome Team Experience

Things To Occupy You This Summer

Author Dorothea

Using Goodmoves For Your Job Hunt

Private Accommodation

Living in Halls – Top Tips to find Private Accommodation

a man on the beach with arms outstretched celebrating the end of exams

Exams Are Done: Time to Relax!

BAME Rep – Nathan Update

Glasgow squinty bridge

Let’s Explore Glasgow!

a girl with her foot on the radio listening to tunes

Union Tunes – What we are listening to!

A koala leaning up against a tree as a visual metaphor for burnout

Burnout – How Life Under Lockdown Has Gotten to Us All

Spotlight on Strath Societies – Musical Theatre Society

Zero Waste Market Sustainable Shops in Glasgow

Sustainable Shops in Glasgow

The Record Factory Beer Garden with tables

Beer Gardens in Glasgow

Student looking stressed out over the Exams

Ways to Relax During the Exams

Star Awards Logo

STAR Awards 2021

Students in the basket of a hot air balloon getting ready to take off

Spotlight on Strath Societies – Hot Air Balloon Society

Woman holding a book over her eyes stressed about the upcoming exam

Study Tips for Exam Season

The Strath Debate team in the Chamber. A man has his hand on forehead in deep thought

Strathclyde Debate Society Interview


Easter Traditions around the World

Bedroom Nido Student Accomodation

Nido Student Accommodation

Former Sports President Maddy Watson and a representative from Bluevale Boxing Club

Bluevale Community Club – A Feel Good Sports Story

TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde Interview

LGBT Flags

Stonewall – A Riot for Rights


Ableism during COVID-19

Book with Glasses

LGBT History Month – Our Literature Picks!

native strath

Introducing Native at Strath Union….Our Brand-New Events Host

Watching TV

LGBT+ History Month – Our Top Movies and TV Shows

LGBT Pride Flag

LGBT+ History Month – Where It Began

Valentine’s Day from Home

A girl sitting cross legged on a sofa reading a book. There is a library in the background

Lockdown Reads – Top 3 books to help escape lockdown

Reach Out – A new student mental health programme

Strath Elections! Why should you get involved?

Haggis cropped

Burns Night at Home, a Strath Life guide!

The Organ Droner Concept

A Conversation with Strath AIS

Exam Top Tips

Tis’ the season! Exam season…

Strathclyde Women in Banking and Finance

Global Entrepreneurship Week – Women in Banking and Finance

Mane Man

The Digital Age and The Creation Of Mane Man Blog

Jennys Story

Covid Tales: ‘Jenny’s’ Story

Stammering Awareness Day with Strath Speechies!

Endsleigh – The Student Insurance to Protect your belongings

Phonics Logo

We chat with Strath IEEE about their new series of events!

RHA - Top Tech Tips

Studying From Home Top Tech Tips

Covid Relief Society | Meeting the Union’s latest society!

Buchanan Galleries

Buchanan Galleries Student Fortnight

Be a go-getter: Get that dream job using LinkedIn

What about us international students

What About Us?

Now is the Time to Start Writing Poetry

How to be Safe on Zoom

How to Use Zoom Safely

Strathclyde Film Society is utilising Netflix Parties

food sharing

Glasgow Restaurants and Strath Foodsharing help those in need

Mural Trail

Discover Glasgow’s Mural Trail

Clubs and Societies in Lockdown

30 Clubs & Socs To Try In Lockdown


Getting Ready, Ramadan is Approaching!

Keeping Fit at Home

Keeping Fit at Home

Self-Isolation Mental Wellbeing