Promoting the status of women and girls with disabilities in all our diversity.
Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) recognises the diversity in our community and values the lived experiences of all women, girls, feminine identifying and nonbinary people with disability (WGwD). WWDA promotes that WGwD have insight to offer different industries by participating in the workforce and that they should be paid for their work accordingly. The WWDA LEAD Project’s 2nd principle – Value diversity and lived experience – focuses on celebrating diversity and appreciating that the lived experience of someone with disability adds vaule to the workforce and is necessary for improving business practices. These lived experiences help to increase accessibility in gaining employment, transport to work, and overall accessibility in the workplace. (1)
Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) states that all persons with disabilities have the right to ‘…live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life…’ This includes opportunities to engage in meaningful, paid employment. However, some industries and vocations are still inaccessible for people with disabilities to participate in employment. An employer’s refusal to improve accessibility in the workplace constitutes ‘disability-based discrimination’ as described in Article 9 of the CRPD. Data tells us that women with disability experience higher rates of violence, neglect, abuse, and exploitation in the workplace and this can further isolate and marginalise women with disability. Inaccessible workplaces contribute to this isolation for women with disability trying to be part of the paid workforce. (2) According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), only approximately 46% of women (ages 15-64) with disability participate in paid labour compared to approximately 84% of women without a disability (ages 15-64). A gender pay gap still exists, where women are paid approximately 14% less than male counterparts doing the same work; women are more likely to be carers for others in their family; do most of the unpaid domestic work; and also finish their superannuation contributions about $40,000 shyer than men. (3)
In 2022 we are doing great in the world of business but there is still much to be done to be inclusive and reduce the distinct gaps in employment statistics. It is important to keep in mind these key points when women with disabilities participate in paid employment with you. Valuing their input and paying them appropriately for their contributions is best practice for business and separates front-running businesses from competitors.
1. Women with Disabilities Australia. WWDA LEAD Leadership Statement [Internet]. WWDA LEAD. 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 18]. Available from: https://wwda.org.au/publication/wwda-lead-leadership-statement/
2. Women with Disabilities Australia. Response to the Employment Issues Paper of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. Hobart; 2020.
3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Gender indicators [Internet]. People and communities. 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 24]. Available from: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/people-and-communities/gender-indicators-australia/latest-release?s=03#work