Did you know that women with disabilities have a 20% employment rate, compared with 53% of men with disabilities and 30% of women without any disabilities? This clearly shows how much more difficult it is for women with disabilities to enter the workforce.
This statistic alone is enough to discourage women living with any kind of disability to try to enter the workforce.
The reason that the numbers are so low is due to the barriers that women face when trying to gain employment. These are barriers that begin with the hiring process and continue all the way through the life cycle of their employment, including retention, promotion, pay, and access to training.
Many don’t even have accessible platforms to educate them on their rights in the workplace.
But the world is changing and slowly industries are becoming more inclusive yet it is still a bumpy road, especially for women with intellectual disability.
You might be asking yourself, why is diversity and inclusion in the workplace so important? We believe the number one reason is that organisations will miss out on opportunities if they don’t get the balance right.
This idea was the basis behind my new online platform Me Plus More. I created it after hearing story after story that made me both disappointed in how little our society has progressed but more determined than ever.
It is designed to support equality for women with intellectual disability with a Women in the Workplace education programme, supported by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women. This indicates a commitment from the Commonwealth Government in upskilling all women to ensure they have the opportunity to have a bright and positive future.
With the launch of the women in the workplace project, women with intellectual disability will have access to specifically designed resources that focuses on employment related topics exclusive for them. Not only does this empower these women to learn vital employability skills, additionally it provides a framework that their supports can utilise to ensure they are providing a quality service.
Connection and peer support is key when on this journey, therefore Me Plus More has created an online support group for members of the women in the workplace stream of learning.
My aim is that it allows these women a platform to connect, develop friendships, and support each other on their employment journey. Our next step is to invite women of all abilities to join a support group to showcase how employable women with intellectual disability are and what they can bring to a workplace.
Me Plus More was built on the foundation that everyone has the right to work towards their independence and goals with access to the appropriate tools to do so.