Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is not Inclusive unless there is Accessibility
The above picture shows the wheel of a wheelchair with a man's hand on it navigating a corridor.
People with disabilities have always been an important part of the human experience, yet they are often left out of the conversation. This is especially true when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Too often, these terms are used without taking into account the unique needs of people living with disabilities. And that's a problem because if we want our society to be truly inclusive, we need to ensure everyone has access to the same opportunities and resources.
That's why it's so important for us to talk about disability in a way that recognizes its importance and complexity. We must acknowledge that people with disabilities come from all walks of life and their experiences are just as varied as anyone else's.
We also must remember that disability is not a one-size-fits-all concept; what matters most is how each experiences impairment or difference. In this guide, we will outline what each term means and how they can be used in a way that includes people with disabilities. We will also look into how you can make your workplace or organization more accessible.
What is Diversity?
Diversity is the act of recognizing and valuing differences in people. It encompasses everything from race and ethnicity to gender and sexuality, as well as religion, language, culture, and socio-economic background.
The goal of diversity is to create an environment where people from all walks of life feel comfortable and respected. When we talk about diversity, we are also talking about inclusion – the act of making sure everyone feels like they belong.
People with disabilities often face discrimination because of their impairment or difference. This can make it difficult for them to find employment, access education, or participate in the community. It's important to remember that diversity is about more than just surface-level differences; it's also about understanding and respecting each individual's unique experiences.
What is Equity?
Equity is the principle of fairness and justice. It is about ensuring everyone has the same opportunities and resources, regardless of background or circumstance.
This is especially important for people with disabilities, who often face barriers that prevent them from participating fully in society. For example, a person who is blind might not have the same access to information as someone who can see.
Or a person with a learning disability might not be able to get the same education or help from services like Proessaywriting.com for students as their peers without disability. Equity is about making sure that everyone has what they need to succeed. It's about creating a level playing field so everyone can reach their full potential.
What is Inclusion?
Inclusion is welcoming and incorporating people from all walks of life. It's about creating an environment where everyone feels accepted, respected, and valued.
Inclusion is often used interchangeably with diversity, but they are not the same. Diversity is about recognizing and valuing differences, while inclusion is about making sure everyone feels like they belong.
In many cases, persons living with disabilities are excluded from the conversation when it comes to diversity and inclusion. This is often because their needs are not considered or seen as part of the "diverse" group.
Inclusion is about more than just including people with disabilities in the conversation; it's about making sure their voices are heard, and their experiences are valued. It's about creating a space where everyone can be themselves and feel like they belong.
What is Accessibility
Accessibility is the ability to access and use information and resources. It's about ensuring everyone can participate in the community, regardless of background or circumstance.
For people with disabilities, accessibility is about more than just being able to physically enter a building; it's about being able to participate fully in all aspects of life. This includes access to education, employment, transportation, and recreation.
Practical DEIA Strategies you can use in the Workplace
There are many ways to make your workplace or organization more inclusive for people with disabilities. Here are a few practical strategies you can use:
Recognize Bias: You can only address inclusion if you recognize your biases. Take time to reflect on your beliefs and assumptions about people with disabilities. Are there certain stereotypes or preconceptions that you need to challenge?
Educate Yourself and Others: Learn about the different types of disabilities and the unique experiences of people with disabilities. Share this information with your colleagues and co-workers. The more you know, the more inclusive you can be.
Create an Accessible Environment: Look around your workplace or organization. Are there physical barriers that make it difficult for people with disabilities to access? If so, what can you do to remove these barriers?
Be an Ally: Be an advocate for inclusion in your workplace or organization. Speak up when you see or hear something that is not inclusive. Help to create a more welcoming environment for everyone.
The Bottom Line
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important topics that should be addressed in every workplace or organization. However, these initiatives will only be successful if they are inclusive of people with disabilities. By recognizing the unique needs of people with disabilities and making an effort to address them, you can create a more inclusive environment for everyone.