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Series – Thrive in the workplace; how to create spaces for employees and leaders with disabilities? – Part II

Written by Bianca Baldo

Part 2 – Landscape and consequences, exploring Ableism in employment.

Using an intersectional perspective to explore diversity in disability

The UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities defines a person with a disability as having “long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder full and effective participation in society.” Importantly, this definition incorporates numerous types of conditions and emphasizes the diversity in disability that limits and acts as barriers to participation. From a GBA+ perspective, we want to look at the various ways identity factors influence a disability.

For example, a library without accessibility ramps to enter can directly impact a person’s participation with a physical disability. Most people can see how the lack of adapted services impacts community members. The woman in a wheelchair, an older man with a cane, a young boy with walking aids, and a mother with a stroller have reduced participation. They are each experiencing barriers that hinder their participation for different reasons, including disabilities.

GBA+ is an analytical tool used to measure how diverse groups of women, men, and non-binary people may experience policies, programs, services, and products differently. In addition to the gender analysis, we must add the different identity factors, such as age, culture, race, disability, ethnicity, class, sexual identity, etc.; we can quickly see the multitude of lived experiences and diversity, inclusion, and equality considerations. Furthermore, a person with a disability can also be negotiating multiple, compounded, and diverse disabilities, each requiring a different set of accommodations and mitigation strategies to support equity in participation. For more information on GBA+, intersectionality, and identity factors, please consult my recent article Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+): Helping facilitate successful meetings.  

The GBA+ analysis pushes the reflectio