[This Blog Post is a part of a Creative Project Assignment for an Academic Course]
Welcome to The Invisible Vision Project’s Blog.
Recently, in my last blog post from a few days ago, I wrote all about my experiences with work, as a person living with a seemingly invisible disability. You could read all about that if you’re interested by clicking here. In today’s blog, I want us to continue with that conversation about disability and employment. And, I want to talk with you about some of the challenges that persons with disabilities often face when looking for work and/or while in the labor market. An important part of what’s bringing me into writing about this topic is: advocacy and raising awareness.
Did you know? In Canada, the employment rate for persons with disabilities was 49%; but, for persons without disabilities, the employment rate was 79% (Statistics Canada, 2011). This discrepancy in number is both alarming and shocking. But, why is it that the employment rate for persons with disabilities being so much different than persons without disabilities? Well, there could be many reasons and factors for this to happen- one of which, is the systemic, (and sometimes) the physical barriers that prevent persons with disabilities participating in the workforce. And another reason, it could be the stigmas and misperceptions that are forced onto persons with disabilities-there is this societal notion and (false) ideology that disabled body or person could not work; because the society believes, the person with a disability just could not possibly be as fully functional and as capable as able-bodied individuals. In which, none of these and many more assumptions made about persons with disabilities are true.
Furthermore, persons with disabilities are often faced with this dilemma of whether to hide or disclose one’s disability during a job search and or an interview process. Many of them believed, it would be much safer and easier for them to hide their disability, rather than to reveal it. In so doing, it would potentially give that individual a higher chance of getting hired for the job. In truth, this should not be a concern or struggle happen to anyone. At least, none of the able-bodied people would need to go through such dilemmas. And, if you’ve already read my previous blog post, where I talked about my work experiences, you’ll know that I had mostly kept my disability hidden, even though this was unintentional and a very much personal decision at that time of my life. But, unlike me, many people have and continue to have that fear, they are afraid if they had disclosed their disability in front of a potential employer, there is this possibility that their disability is going to get in the way from securing a job.
Nevertheless, the low employment rate among persons with disabilities is one important social issue, and, this must stop. If the misperception and stigma doesn’t end, the discrimination and challenges persons with disabilities constantly are facing will not end or be resolved. There is a definite need for our society to change our view we put on or have for persons with disabilities. Instead of focusing on the disability, why not start looking at people as people, perhaps with different abilities. Persons with disabilities, many are extremely dedicated, hardworking, capable and educated. Some persons with disabilities may even be highly educated than the average able-bodied person. However, it may be concerning and even daunting for able-bodied employers to consider and even hire someone with a disability, this is also because, there is this fear that persons with disabilities would often need costly high technology (accessibility tools) and special training to get them started on the job. This is often a misunderstanding. In most cases, persons with disabilities are already equipped with their accessibility tools and needs; the company usually doesn’t need to invest a whole lot of money privately for that individual with special needs. And, by hiring persons with disabilities into one’s company or cooperation, it shows that the company is diverse and inclusive. That alone, is going to greatly benefit and put a positive impression on the company. Keep this in mind: hiring persons with disabilities is doing more good than harm to your company. So, change your mindset and consider welcoming someone with a disability into your workplace today!
This concludes Today’s Blog. Thank You for Reading to the End.
By: The Invisible Vision Project
Irena Kaganski-Young. NOW THINK FREE. (2016/08/03). Employment for People with Disabilities is Dire. Retrieved from: [https://nowtoronto.com/news/employment-for-people-with-disabilities-is-dire/].
Michelle McQuigge. CTV News. (2017/01/17). Only Half of Disabled Canadians have a Full or Part-Time Job: CIBC Poll. Retrieved from: [https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/only-half-of-disabled-canadians-have-a-full-or-part-time-job-cibc-poll-1.3244080]
Turcotte, Martin. Statistics Canada (2015/11/27). Persons with Disabilities and Employment. Retrieved from: [http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2014001/article/14115-eng.htm].