International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities takes place on December 3rd and aims to raise awareness about the issues disabled people face every day. This year’s theme is ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’. This day was declared in 1992 by the United Nations. According to this organisation, 1 billion people live with disabilities and around 80% of them live in developing countries.

Organisations have been creating key strategies to reinforce inclusion. As an example, the World Health Organisation set some millennium development goals for people with disabilities, such as:

♦ Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger

♦ Achieving universal primary education

♦ Promoting gender equality and empowering women

♦ Reducing child mortality

♦ Developing a global partnership for development

Despite the efforts that are being made, disabled people still face many difficulties in accessing all areas of society. They have lower levels of education, higher poverty rates, insufficient access to health care and low employment rates.

Businesses are trying to tackle low employment rates among people with disabilities. However, in 2017, the employment rate for people with disabilities in the European Union was 47,3%. And another TUC report in the UK showed that employees with disabilities receive a 15% lower salary when compared to someone without disabilities.

Including disabled people in the workforce helps make it more diverse, therefore encouraging creative thinking, improving problem-solving skills, and, among other things, increasing productivity. But the benefits of including people with disabilities does not stop here. For instance, research from the World Economic Forum showed that companies employing disabled workers perform better. These companies had 30% more economic profits when compared to others. All things considered, employers must offer training and workshops on disabilities to show employees how to integrate disabled people in the most effective way and teach them how they can help them. Acknowledging the problems disabled people may face and including them in the workforce leads people without disabilities to be more inclusive and comprehensive on these issues.

It is equally crucial that companies adapt their recruitment and hiring processes, so they are transparent and convenient for people with disabilities. Moreover, companies should allow disabled employees to work from home or have flexible working hours. Not only can commuting be difficult when living with a disability but the workplace may not be ready to receive these employees.

Nowadays, some companies still think that it is expensive to accommodate disabled workers. But a study from the Job Accommodation Network showed that this was not true: most employers stated they had low costs or no costs at all to accommodate a disabled worker.

References:

  1. International Day of Persons with Disabilities: 3 December, United Nations
  2. International Day of Persons with Disabilities, World Health Organization
  3. What companies gain by including persons with disabilities, April 2019, World Economic Forum
  4. How Could Future Workplaces Work Better for People with Disabilities?, February 2019, talentculture