International Development Secretary puts disability as top agenda

05 Dec 2017




Disability rose up the international agenda last week with the UK’s new International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt putting a commitment to tackling discrimination against disabled people at the heart of her department’s strategy.

This announcement came as people around the world prepared to mark the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, an important day where people celebrate the contribution disabled people make to our society and recognise the ongoing struggle to improve access and opportunities for disabled people.

The new International Development Secretary and former disabilities minister also announced that she would be hosting the UK’s first global disability summit in 2018 – an event which will aim to bring together global leaders and technology companies to tackle the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fulfilling their potential.

People with disabilities are among the most marginalised groups in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, over one billion people around the world have some form of disability. Persons with disabilities, “the world’s largest minority”, struggle with barriers to healthcare, education and employment. The challenge is all the more pressing in the world’s poorest countries as highlighted by Penny Mordaunt where it is “often impossible” for children with disabilities to go to school and to make a living when they grow up: “in many instances, they are completely cast out from the rest of society.”

We are really pleased to see this issue rise up the international development agenda in the UK. Penny Mordaunt’s commitment to the issue was clear when she engaged with members and businesses here at the REC’s offices last year at the launch of Disability Confident. For our part, we’ll continue to feed in good practice from our industry to the International Labour Organisation and the World Employment Confederation and look forward to promoting the Development Secretary’s drive amongst colleagues around the world.

The REC will continue to promote Disability Confident to members and employers along with our other inclusion projects. Today, we launch the final instalment in our series of videos on disability employment. In this video, Tom Hadley, our director of policy, explains the benefits of building a diverse workforce. He also encourages recruiters and employers to sign up to Disability Confident.

The growing enthusiasm of members was clear at our Inclusive Recruitment Forum and we look forward to building on this with the support of REC member ManpowerGroup who now represent our industry on the Disability Confident Business Leaders Group. Diversity and inclusion will continue to be a key priority for the REC and we look forward to growing our industry’s impact with your support.

For more information on the REC’s work on diversity and inclusion or to share your story, please get in touch – email Karen.O’

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