By Sheri Byrne-Haber, accessibility architect and Power of Difference (POD) co-lead for @VMware Disability
Today is the 28th International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Started by the United Nations, the goal is to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society. It also aims to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
People with disabilities (PwD) have always been on the outer fringe of employment. Before COVID, the unemployment rate for PwDs was almost two-and-a-half times higher than the general unemployment rate. However, this average hides additional intersectional bias. For example:
Unfortunately, the pandemic caused these numbers to worsen. A recent survey by Global Disability Inclusion showed that
These alarming statistics are a call to action for all of us. It’s impossible to predict our post-COVID workplace. But at VMware, we will continue investing and taking action to create an environment where everyone can thrive—in the office or at home.
Reporting Our Progress: @VMware Disability POD
A year and a half ago, we launched our @VMware Disability Power of Difference community (POD). Since launch, VMware’s self-identification rate of employees with disabilities has increased more than 60 percent. We attribute this to:
While this is an amazing improvement, VMware’s self-identification rate of employees with disabilities provides an opportunity for continued improvement. As co-lead for the @VMware Disability POD, we’re working to make our company a more physically and digitally accessible place to work, including:
Next on the POD’s list is completing six of the DEI Survey findings to get a ranking high enough to receive Disability:IN’s “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion” award. We’ll also host our second annual accessibility hackathon in February 2021.
At VMware, we believe people with disabilities belong in every technology selection and development opportunity. Anyone can be a change agent to help achieve the goals of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.