During the 2020 pandemic, the world came to a halt. People stayed home and, in many instances, continue to and changed their conducts, routines, and manners of life. The lives of many people got derailed.
Nearly ten to fifteen percent of the world’s population live with some disability. For people with disabilities (PWDs), the situation is more dramatic across the globe. It is often life-threatening. Amidst all the circumstances, even the general things have always been harder for PWDs. The sites of disappointments and discrimination are not a new avenue for people with disabilities. If you want to make this world a better place for everyone, then here are some crucial ways to make our society more inclusive.
Consider Disability Community as a Valued Consumer
Markets have started seeing the disability community as a targeted audience and consumer. People with disabilities are the primary minority population in the world. However, the disability-community is mostly under-represented when talking about marketing products. It is because people with disabilities are the last about whom manufacturers or business owners think. It is because there is a rich diversity within the world of the disability community.
There are several branches in the disability sector. But, PWDs and their families have good purchasing power. It is time that designers start considering disabled people and design clothing options that suit them.
The world will be much more inclusive if the products are available with braille markings; entrepreneurs advertise their products and services in sign language, and retailing-websites are end-to-end accessible.
Employ People with Disability: They are Passionate, Skilled, and Energetic
There is a notion that people with disabilities cannot work efficiently, and they need to depend on others. Perhaps, it is not the reality in many instances. There are determined and skilled PWDs who are looking for a single chance.
NPR states that less than 1 in 5 disabled people are employed. According to CNN Money, PWD workers earn around $9,000 less a year than their non-disabled counterparts. Unfortunately, professionals discriminate against the disability community at work. Employers refuse to give jobs to PWDs on the pretext of this or that. Once employers start seeing PWDs as an ‘asset’ and not as a ‘potential liability, they can see the passion, determined, resilient, and productive side of the PWD community.
Being a visually challenged woman, I have seen many opportunities slipping from my hands. However, I have been lucky enough that I could prove my mettle time and again. I chose the corporate sector because I love to work under tight deadlines, taste the pressure of a streak of assignments back-to-back, and grow in a brainstorming environment.
However, I still wish if the world could be more inclusive and accessible. Lately, I switched my job in August 2020, and I was capable enough; that I joined another job within 15 days during that pandemic time. On 14th September 2020, I was working with a new international company as a freelance writer. The journey with them was informative. My employers were happy with my work, and I never missed any deadlines.
At the beginning of January 2021, there emerged an accessibility issue. One of the platforms, which my company made mandatory for writers to use, was not accessible, and my screen reader couldn’t read it. As a result of this, my employers told me to part ways, and I had to resign. My purpose of discussing it here is; if the websites, applications, digital transformation tools, and software will not get more accessible, passionate employees and freelancers will end-up giving resignations. Why should PWDs suffer because of the ignorance of employers?
Removal of Day Today Barriers
Barriers to full economic and social inclusion of persons with disabilities encompass inaccessible physical environments and overall transportation. It also includes the unavailability of assistive devices and technologies, gaps in service delivery, non-adapted means of communication, and discriminatory prejudice and stigma in society.
If the authorities and governments pay attention to remove these barriers from society, nobody can stop people with disabilities to thrive and shine. It is not the capabilities of PWDs that have a flaw; it is the flaw in the system that we must fix.
Sow the Seeds of Social Inclusion in Schools
Our general cultural consciousness on how we behave and interact with a disability needs to be changed. It begins right in elementary schools. We must accept and celebrate our peers for their differences. If the disability activists and general professionals impart this inclusion at a young age, less discrimination and more social inclusion will emerge.
Once kids, with and without disabilities, are studying, playing, and learning together, it will help everyone appreciate the talents, abilities, and gifts that all children bring with them. As a society, it is our responsibility to endorse the inclusion of our differences.
To sum up, we can make a difference for the betterment of everyone. We need to start working towards inclusion. Each of us should do our part and create inclusiveness in our homes, workplace, and society.