Many organisations have now implemented disability policies, to ensure that women with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in the workplace. However, sometimes employers do not have a sufficient understanding of disability, or the positive attitude needed to implement these policies effectively. It all boils down to understanding and attitude.
‘It all boils down to understanding and attitude.’
A disability policy will not create change if employers do not understand inclusion. A proper appreciation of what marginalisation is, therefore what inclusion should involve is integral. In this blog, we have put together some tips for both employers and women with disabilities on how to create opportunities in the workplace.
Every person with a disability is different, there cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ policy. Any policy you have should allow input from disabled employees and give them room to manage their work. This requires flexibility from employers - two people may have the same disability but have different ways of dealing with it in the workplace. Respect diversity and practise flexibility.
All employees need to go through training to understand what disability is, and what the benefits of an inclusive and diverse workforce are. Once they have this information, they will understand the benefits for the organisation, and potentially have a more positive perspective on disability.
It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, or where you are, negative attitudes exist everywhere. For some people, disability is the elephant in the room and they are afraid to talk about it. For others, they simply think that it has nothing to do with them and are uninterested. Senior members of staff must use their leadership to ensure that all employees understand the importance of inclusivity.
Once you have implemented a disability policy and trained employees on inclusivity and diversity, it does not mean that you have been successful. Policy implementation needs to be monitored to ensure that it is having a positive impact. Disability and attitudinal surveys are helpful to achieve this.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a continual process that you need to keep up in place. Be a proactive employer, who is passionate about continuously creating positive change.
Advice For Women With Disabilities
First of all, if you are a woman in the workplace with a disability, keep shining! The barriers are real. Not every woman with a disability has the necessary support system in their workplace, and there are even reports of abuse and a lack of career growth for disabled women. Whether you are/are not in an inclusive and supportive workplace, the following advice is for any woman with a disability.
Keep shining! Be confident in who you are, your talents, skills and capabilities. Make your voice heard, there is no reason why you should not have the same confidence as any non-disabled employee.
Understand your rights! With a good awareness of what you require from your employer, you can ensure that you are given the support that you need.
Ensure you have the knowledge of support available to you. Be ready to influence others within your organisation. You will often have to educate your colleagues and employers on your requirements.
Be empowered! No one should face any abuse or discrimination in the workplace, and if you experience anything negative, you are entitled to confront it and let your employer know.
If you are a disabled woman in the workplace, there is support available. Contact us if you are looking for any support! Remember that disabled women have every right to be in the workplace, and to be given the same opportunities as non-disabled people.
This is a guest blog written by JoinedTo.