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  • Writer's picturePeta

Disability inclusion at work

Many aspects of life are inhertly inaccessible to people with disabilities. Why is that?

For Peta it is because people without disabilities do not always consider people with disabilities when making decsions. If the solution to this issue is to have more people with disabilities invloved in the decsion making process, why isnt this happening.

Do you have work colloueges with disabilities? If not why not?

You can ask Peta a question via:


You can follow Peta on Instagram @petahooke

This is the article written by our friend Lisa Cox: Is Sephora Smudging Its Reputation With Its Lack Of Diversity?


Episode Transcript:

Peta [00:00:02] Hello and welcome to the The I Can't Stand Podcast. The podcast, answering your questions about what life is like when you have a disability. My name is Peta and I'm your host every week. I love to answer your questions if you'd like to send in a question. There are three ways you can do so.

[00:00:24] One, by my Instagram, which is at @PETAHOOKE, which is spelled P E T A H O O K E. Via my email, which is or by my website, All the links in the description. Without any further ado, let's get into it.

[00:01:05] This week's question came from Peter no, not me, I promise. A male Peter. His question to me was.

Peter [00:01:16] Why is disability inclusion in the workplace important?

Peta [00:01:23] Because many aspects of life is inherently inaccessible and designed by nondisabled people. Disabled people are commonly excluded in many areas of life, either directly or indirectly. That, of course, means that disabled people are at a disadvantage. And inclusion is really a central element for us to gain equality.

[00:01:54] A recent study conducted in Australia in 2013 by the Australian Network on Disability found that if you worked in a more inclusive team, you are 10 times more likely to be highly effective than the workers in non-inclusive teams. You are 19 times more likely to be very satisfied with your jobs than the workers who were not in inclusive teams. Inclusion at work benefits everyone. When people with disabilities are included in a workplace, there's lower employee turnover. There's high morale, there's better productivity. Team members are more likely to be team players. It also has been found to create a more accepting and supportive workplace for all employees. Just through inclusion. Sorry, inclusion to people with disabilities is a substantial opportunity for businesses. Not to mention an ethical imperative for them to ensure that they include us.

[00:03:13] I'm thinking that most of you are listening to this thinking, well, yes, I agree, disability inclusion should happen. But what is it actually in practise? This is where I'm going to try not to rant, I'm going to do my absolute best. Often when we talk about inclusion, we also talk about diversity. It's one thing to have a diverse workplace, to have people with disabilities working in an organisation. Are the people with disabilities in that organisation in jobs that they are qualified to do? But I feel fulfilled in. Do they feel valued and do they have any power? To use their voice and make change. Inclusion, to me, means a meaningful workplace where a person with a disability can be productive and impactful and also have future prospects for career growth. Sometimes diversity is just pure tokenism. Yes, we've got a person with a disability working for us. Look, she's over here doing admin even though she's got a business degree and a masters degree. I'm not talking about anyone in particular. (haha) Are these organisations actively working to attract people with disabilities, but also developers as valued employees?

[00:05:09] There are so many common tropes and stereotypes that infuriate me as somebody with a disability. And it's now getting to the point that I feel like there should be a drinking game when you listen to this episode, because I'm going to say phrase that I've been repeating over and over low expectations. These continual low expectations for people with disabilities. Keep popping their ugly head up. I spoke about this recently about an SBS documentary here in Australia that was called What Does Australia Think About Disability? The documentary explored the low expectations that the general public have and how misinformed the general public is to what it's like to live with a disability. I had another experience recently with Centrelink, which I will talk to you about further when I'm allowed to, but that experience was sorry. Demeaning and upsetting. And it just reconfirmed how embedded those low expectations are for people with disabilities.

[00:06:33] One example that I can talk to you about today. I think really illustrates to you my point. The difference between diversity and inclusion. It's written by somebody that we know, somebody that's been on this broadcast, Lisa Cox. Lisa Cox wrote a really enlightening article, and she just hit the nail on the head. I will link the article in the description. It's about a brand you might have heard of Sephora. The global massive beauty brand that is Sephora. And I would just point out this issue was in America, it wasn't in Australia, but I think it really highlights. How far we have to go with disability inclusion? As Lisa writes on the surface. So far as recent pledge to hire 150 staff with disabilities looks very attractive and worthy of praise. An awesome representation of people with disabilities in such a big and powerful organisation. Unfortunately, as Lisa points out, all those 150 workers with disabilities were placed in the factory. There were no other opportunities at all throughout the Organisation for People with Disabilities.

[00:08:13] And of course, for some people, that opportunity would be massive and life changing. But. For others, a lot of others like myself, the thought of. Me only being able to gain a job with Sephora in the factory purely because of my disability. I would like to think that I would either be really good at customer facing work. Or I could use my skills in management or, heck, my passion for skincare would definitely come in handy. I know the difference between hyaluronic acid nicita mine and a Sobek acid. You would hope that when this was released, the media would have been all over this because of the sheer tokenism that this move is. Unfortunately not, this decision by Sephora was seen as a glowing example of inclusion in the business sector. Are we really that behind guys to think that this is a progressive move? To me, this is just performative inclusion. Yes, the large number selected to be employed by Sephora is impressive, but in the end, it's not good enough. Having a big organisation like this reconfirm. The misinformation that people with disabilities are only capable of low skilled work. Is such an injustice to the disability community. And I know that there are many more examples to this, but as a beauty lover, it really, really annoyed me to think that this is happening today. And not only that, this action is seen as a glowing example of progressive business. If businesses are really serious about being inclusive, they need to hire us in all levels. They need to not make a fuss when they do. Also, make sure that the company's marketing is also reflective of that. I have never seen somebody with a disability putting on blush. Or putting on lipstick. In an advertised but. That is the sort of inclusion that is needed. That people with disabilities appear in marketing. It's not something that needs to be highlighted or celebrated. It's just something that's done because that's what brought. And that's what makes good business sense, because, again, there's a hell of a lot of us. And many of us have families who are also more likely to buy from businesses that a disability inclusive. So it's not just us, but it's our loved ones as well.

[00:11:51] Finally, if a business wants to be inclusive and you're still not sure how to go about it. People like Lisa Cox, people like myself, where they wear disability consultants with degrees and qualifications and lived experience. Higher ups. Let us help you become more inclusive, have us involved in the process. Let's be efficient and effective about this. It's not a big, scary monster that you have to conquer. It's just pure business opportunity.

[00:12:39] Thank you for listening to this week's episode. I hope you enjoyed my ranting, if you could please write and review the podcast. It would mean so much to me. You can do it on Apple podcasts. And I really enjoy reading your reviews. Another way you can help. The podcast is sharing the podcast with a friend or mentioning it on social media. Don't forget to tag me, OK, until next week by.


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