Why 50 Million Voices?
Globally 50 million people of employable age stutter. This is a huge pool of under-utilised talent.
What’s holding this talent back?
For far too long, people who stutter at work have been wrongly labelled as poor communicators, lacking in confidence and making a limited contribution compared to their peers.
Fuelled by societal bias, these ill-informed labels act as high barriers in the workplace. They make it harder for people who stutter to get a job, let alone to thrive and fulfil their potential.
For millions who stutter, even passing an interview feels like a hurdle which can never be cleared. The harsh reality is that, in cultures which continue to view stuttering as a weakness, they may well be proved right.
It doesn’t need to be this way.
What’s the reality?
Good communication is so much more than speaking fluently. It is about the quality of the connection between the speaker and the listener and how attentive they both are to the dialogue between them. It has little, if anything, to do with speed and fluency of speech.
Experience shows that many people who stutter develop into excellent communicators such as Joe Biden, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah and Sameera Reddy (see below).
Research shows that people who stutter often develop valuable strengths in creativity, empathy, resilience and listening.
Yet employers continue to miss out on the talents of people who stutter, while millions of people who stutter miss out on a fulfilling working life.
This is where 50 Million Voices comes in.
Our proposition is simple and achievable.
By bringing together people who stutter and employers and allies, we can challenge the ill-informed labels, bring down the barriers and help everyone gain greater understanding and acceptance of stuttering in the workplace.
These changes can benefit everyone: the 50 million adults who stutter, their employers and society at large.
- Amanda Gorman, an American poet and activist. In 2021, she delivered her poem "The Hill We Climb" at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden
- Dennis Oliech - a Kenyan footballer, team captain and coach. He turned down the large sum of money he was offered to switch his national team allegiance from Kenya to Qatar
- E M S Namboodiripad, an Indian politician and theorist, who served as the first Chief Minister of Kerala who replied when asked if he always stammered: "Only when I speak"
- King George VI: Ascending to the British throne on the abdication of his brother, George VI formed a strong partnership with Sir Winston Churchill during the second world war. The story of his deeply troubled relationship with his stutter, culminating in his speech to millions globally on the eve of war, is told in the film 'The King's Speech' which won 4 Oscars.
- James Rodriguez, an internationally-famous Colombian soccer player. At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil against Uruguay, he reputedly scored "one of the greatest goals ever seen in the World Cup"
- Joe Biden, the 46th and current President of the United States. The first president known to have a stutter, he credits challenges he endured growing up with a stutter with helping to strengthen his determination and resilience
- Jorge Luis Borges, internationally acclaimed Argentine author and poet. Known as the 'Father of the Latin American novel', and sometimes referred to as one of the 20th century's most important writers, Borges had a stutter throughout his life
- Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah a lawyer, a member of parliament and the current minister of Information of Ghana. He was selected as a Young Global Leader for 2020 by the World Economic Forum
- Sameera Reddy a former Bollywood actress who has worked in Hindi films, in addition to Tamil and Telegu language films