What do we want? Real change in Diversity! When do we want it? Now! Yeah, right. More work to be done.
Launch day is upon us. Finally I can proudly confirm I'm helping lead the charge – or in my case the slow, creaky wheelchair roll – with the PRCA's shiny new 'Equity & Inclusion Advisory Council.' (EIAC). I'm the lead in the Disability workstream. As such, I'll be pushing hard for disability to figure in every Diversity & Inclusion conversation. We're not there yet, despite our community being comfortably the largest minority.
Roughly 20% of the population have some form of disability. Visible or not. Disclosed, yet to be or never to be. Diagnosed, undiagnosed. Vulnerable and sheltering from the pandemic or out there and able to get on with life. We're a diverse, intersectional bunch!
My own flavour of disability stems from Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic and progressive condition usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. Prime of your life? Prime of your professional life? Probably. MS is a great example of why disability needs to feature high on the agenda of every D&I conversation. We're your employees, we're your potential employees. We're consumers of your brands, readers, listeners, watchers of your press coverage and communications. But curiously we're rarely, if ever, targeted or marketed to.
So, to kick off our disability work with the EIAC, we've planned a lovely new Podcast, 'Disability@TheTable' for you. We want you to think about disability in positive terms. We want you to think about us as a target market. We expect to thought-provoke and we hope to entertain. I'll be the host (eek!), and starting monthly will be lining up a stellar and varied cast of guests. And boy, do we have stories to tell and advice to give. Probably some bad jokes too, if I'm involved.
We chose the name 'Disability@TheTable' because we need to be there. At the top table. Represented and included. Do you know anyone disabled in the comms or creative industries? Unlikely. Do you know anyone disabled in a very senior role? A disabled CEO? Almost certainly not!
Now that is partly because disabled people aren't employed in the first place: the employment rate is nearly 30% lower for disabled people, while the pay gap when we find a role is circa 20%.
And partly because of the stigma attached. Perceived weakness? Awkwardness? Whatever. We crave work, we crave normality, we crave every form of accessibility. And when we get a sniff of that top table we know we can add immense value.
We hope you enjoy the new Podcast and hope you'll take some learnings on board. And perhaps give me a massive pay rise.