Vanessa Ortiz

Shifting Perspectives: Fostering the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce

Current situation
People with disabilities face disproportionately high unemployment rates and limited career advancement opportunities due to widespread misconceptions and biases. These misconceptions create significant barriers to employment, disregarding their skills and qualifications.


Root causes
Three key challenges emerged from interviews with inclusion and diversity experts and individuals with disabilities. Firstly, there is a lack of understanding of inclusion and diversity among HR professionals, superiors, and employees. Many companies claim to value inclusivity and diversity, but research shows a lack of comprehension, leading to biased hiring practices. Secondly, unconscious stereotypes heavily influence HR practices in the selection, hiring, training, and promotion of employees with disabilities, driven by societal and cultural factors. Lastly, language plays a crucial role in shaping attitudes towards people with disabilities, reinforcing stereotypes when used incorrectly.

Addressing the root causes
The approach tackles these challenges by first establishing nature as a shared foundation. In nature, every species contributes to the proper functioning of the ecosystem, fostering a sense of interconnectedness. Secondly, it aims to raise awareness about unconscious stereotypes prevalent in society. Lastly, it advocates for a language shift, emphasizing people’s expanded abilities to highlight their strengths rather than limitations.


Introducing: Inclusive by Nature
This initiative harnesses the wisdom of nature to cultivate thriving workplaces that value and celebrate the unique talents and perspectives of every individual. The holistic intervention caters to three user groups: 1) the general public, 2) children, and 3) organizations and It includes a series of videos, a children’s book, and a day event.

  1. The series of videos explore diversity and inclusion using personal stories, examples from nature, and thought-provoking questions, promoting a tolerant world.
  2. The children’s book follows Pi, a visually impaired child, on an adventurous journey that embraces diversity, acceptance, inclusivity, and appreciation for differences.
  3. Day event facilitates transformative experiences, raising awareness, promoting reflection, and empowering participants to drive inclusion and diversity in the workplace.

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