Let’s Celebrate Disability Independence Day By Improving Disability Inclusion in the Workplace
Paradigm for Parity® recognizes that supporting women in business means embracing the collective potential of all women in the workplace, regardless of background, culture, race, orientation or ability. As we commemorate and celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law in 1990 and the progress that’s been made in the last 31 years, we acknowledge that there is still much work ahead of us.
Applying an intersectional lens for all women employees is essential to achieve parity in the workplace. Women — and particularly women of color — with disabilities face difficult challenges. According to the Department of Labor, Black and Latina women with disabilities have the lowest employment-population ratios among Americans. Accommodations, such as flexible work schedules, the provision or modification of equipment or software, and the provision of an aide or services to increase access are a relatively low cost with a large benefit in additional qualified resources.
A positive step companies can take is to empower their employees through programming. As an example, mentorships and coaching programs are effective ways to increase leadership opportunities for women with disabilities. P4P member, Accenture in partnership with the AAPD and Disability:IN conducted a report — Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage — which offers best practices from companies who have scored high on the Disability Equality Index (DEI).
In honor of Disability Independence Day, Paradigm for Parity applauds Accenture and the other member companies who have taken steps to support their employees with disabilities. Bank of America has established their own Disability Advocacy Network (DAN) for employees with disabilities as well as for their family and friends to connect them with resources and future opportunities. Salesforce joined the Value 500 and committed to opening an Office for Accessibility to increase accountability on disability inclusion.
Disability impacts about 36 million women in the US. Providing opportunities for women with disabilities to thrive in the workplace leads to increased shareholder value and improves productivity. Developing a recruitment process to include meaningful outreach to the disability community opens a vital network of career pathways.
About Paradigm for Parity®
Paradigm for Parity® is a coalition of business leaders dedicated to addressing the corporate leadership gender gap. The coalition is made up of CEOs, senior executives, founders, board members, and business academics who are committed to achieving a new norm in the corporate world: one in which women and men have equal power, status, and opportunity.