Moving Towards Social Inclusion — Disability Pride Month
July 1st, marked the start of Disability Pride Month.
During this time, the Disability and Chronic Illness community will pay attention to how employers and social impact-driven entities are showing up. Will they walk the talk on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)?
If you are an employer or an institution in the social impact space, below are important questions to consider as you evaluate your current approach to inclusion.
*Recruitment, Retention, and Culture*
1. Are you intentional about designing jobs that are accessible to the chronically ill and disabled community?
2. Are you developing job descriptions that clearly display essential vs. non-essential functions?
3. Are you training your recruiters and hiring managers on anti-bias and anti-ablism?
4. Are you updating your accommodations practices to respond to the reality of healthcare inequity?
- Requiring a doctor’s note and/or diagnosis as a prerequisite to accommodations is problematic, as it is often inaccessible to members of multi-marginalized communities vis-à-vis cost-access barriers, medical gaslighting, and overwhelming reliance on test results?
5. Are you challenging abelism and disability-bias in your ranks?
- Does your culture frown upon sick leave? Do your policies offer flexible scheduling but penalize sick leave?
Example: do your policies offer care-giving leave, but penalize sick leave for the chronically ill?
6. Are your managers trained on managing dynamic staffing schedules, centering chronic illness (such as long COVID) and fostering psychological safety to disclose needs?
7. Do you have bureaucratic processes around FMLA? And is the paperwork accessible to all?
*Social Impact Practices*
1. Are you building social trust and partnering with disability and chronic illness community-based groups?
2. Are you taking intersectionality into account? Have you assessed and addressed access barriers to participation?
3. Are you intentionally designing training programs to help the disabled and chronically ill to re-skill and up-skill for new jobs and industries?
4. Are you compensating disabled community members for their time, input, and participation in initiatives and research? And are you investing in this community after the research has been published?
5. Are you “linking participants” to employers via networking events OR are you securing written commitments from employers to hire them?
6. Are you partnering with disabled community members to design programs that serve their community AND hiring them to run these initiatives?
*Disability is a Spectrum*
This post draws from intentional program and strategy design approaches, centering disabling chronic illness. Please make sure to honor diversity in this community by listening to diverse voices who are experts in their lived experiences as well as established leaders in the community, particularly those who are intersectionally multi-marginalized.
Disclaimer:This post should not be interpreted as advisory services rendered. Unless otherwise stated or referenced, the above opinions are my own and do not represent those of my former/ current/ future employers/clients. The content may not be used, embedded, and/or copied without prior written consent by the author.
An earlier version of this article was published on July 1st.
About the Author: Nassrin El-Gosi is a Program Design and Business Development Consultant. She is a Disability Inclusion advocate, centering the experiences of the chronically ill. Contact her on LinkedIn for consulting inquiries.