Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Defying a cultural perception | disabled people in the labor market

One of the most interesting topics that kept surfing in almost all conversations we had, is the perception of society about disabled people. In Polish society, disabled people are not considered capable of having an active and professional life. At the family level, they face a strange form of overprotection that heavily impacts negatively their self-esteem and feeds the perception of themselves as incapable of having an active life, professional or otherwise.

Danuta, one of the ICT trainers in the Foundation and a disabled person herself, explained to us that some disabled people still believe today that they are not entitled to work. This "culture of unemployment" is specially present among older people because for most of their lives they were not given the same opportunities in education and at work, even when they were perfectly capable doing it. Among younger generations this is changing. Today, there are more people with disabilities attending four-degree colleges, working in companies, but cultures are slow to change, there is still a lot to do

In the labor market, there is a slowly changing business culture that prevents employers from considering hiring disabled people for career-path jobs because of the perception that they can only perform certain type of tasks, certain type of jobs. This often leads businesses to offer them only low-skilled, low-paid jobs that are not rewarding and without a professional path.

But things are changing, and some people are making these changes possible however small they are.

No comments: