As you may or may not know, Disability History Month is just around the corner on 22nd November to 22nd December in the UK. I know that there are a lot of awareness months/weeks out there – I think these are great opportunities for us to learn about the people around us and how to support each other. It’s also really helpful for disabled people to have a chance to express their own experiences and feel connected.
I work with a lot of people who want to create events for work around Disability History Month but aren’t quite sure where to start, so I thought I’d give you a few ideas!
Create content around disability and the industry you’re in
I think one of my most repeated pieces of advice if companies don’t know how to diversify their organisation is to openly weave disability into your brand. Start thinking about disability and your industry. Could something be more accessible for some people that you could discuss? Are there any useful stats out there that you could consider and what that may look like in the future? Or are there any well known disabled people in your industry that could be shared in your social media? It’s guaranteed then that more people who relate to the content will connect with it and interact. Eventually and hopefully – you’ll then be engaging with a more diverse audience and start to get to know how you can cater to more people. I also love this one because it’s something that can be turned around quite easily and could bring up a whole lot of thinking that may never have popped up before!
Disability and Leadership – How can we get more disabled leaders?
One thing I’m really passionate about is raising the number of disabled leaders. The only way we’re going to create true inclusive change is disabled people being involved in decision making. So why not create an event around leadership? Are there opportunities for employees to develop their skills? Could you provide extra learning and support to make sure disabled employees can feel able to apply for leadership roles too? It’s an interesting topic that when we think about it – I’m sure there are a number of barriers in leadership roles that we don’t even think about.
Interview with a disabled person/people to broadcast to your team
Most people enjoy learning about others – I do anyway. A really popular content piece at the moment is to do interviews on Instagram live or a live webinar. This could be someone who has experience and knowledge within your industry or even someone in your team who would be happy to share their experience. Obviously this has to come from the interviewee and sharing your experience is not always a casual thing to do.
Creating a network for your disabled employees
As we know, having a space for people who share similar experiences is so beneficial. Having a disabled network can really make disabled people feel like they belong. So why not email colleagues and ask if this is something that people will be interested in? One important thing to note is that this is always more successful when disabled people lead this themselves. This in turn leads to people hopefully feeling more able to open up and speak about disabilities they may not have felt comfortable doing before. I can’t tell you how warm and fuzzy it feels when you feel like you’re able to just let it out and say what you want and feel like people around you completely get it. In turn then, you’re creating a safe environment and hopefully authentic feedback about how to be even more inclusive in your workspace.
Roundtable speaking about the industry you’re in
The most obvious one that springs to mind is speaking about the industry you’re in and disabled peoples’ experience within that. Whether you work in education, charity, retail – wherever, I’m sure disabled people will have a unique perspective within that field. It’s a great chance to look at the barriers that are naturally there. You never know, by the end of it – you may even work out some solutions for a more inclusive workplace!
So those are just some suggestions of events and ideas you could do for Disability History Month this year. Do you have any in mind that you’re going to do? Let me know!
P.s. as I mentioned online, I am now taking bookings for attending events for Disability History Month this year – if you’d like me to join yours just send me an email and let’s chat! firstname.lastname@example.org