More than 1.3 billion people experience significant disability in the world today, which represents 16% of the global population.
Many of these people are at higher risk of developing a range of health conditions, and experience more limitations in everyday life than the rest of the general population.
These poorer health outcomes, or ‘health inequities’, are mostly avoidable and driven by unjust factors, including discrimination, lack of access or quality of care, inequitable policies, and negative attitudes of health workers – to name a few. Too often, people with disabilities are left behind.
To nurture good health and wellbeing for everyone within the workplace, meaningful participation and empowerment of those living with disabilities is crucial.
Dani Nadiri is an ITN Business Production Coordinator and Co-chair of ITN Ability living with cerebral palsy, which can affect her mobility and co-ordination and many other aspects of her day-to-day health.
She’s been with ITN Business for over two and a half years, and is using her own experience of the challenges of navigating the world of work with a disability, to drive positive change across the organisation.
To raise awareness this International Day of Disabled Persons, Dani shares her experiences in the realm of work, and what it means to her to be ITN’s Disability and Inclusion Champion, advocating for others with disabilities in the workplace.
Looking at me, you wouldn’t know I was disabled. But I am, and I’m proud of that. I was born with my disabilities, so it’s always been a part of who I am. But at the same time, my disability doesn’t define me. I’m just as able as another colleague doing the same role; I just do it in my own way.
In my experience, I’ve learnt that a person with a disability already has so many challenges before they enter the world of work. Challenges that perhaps someone without a disability would never consider because they’re second nature to them — like travelling to work, or being comfortable at their desk.
For this reason, I’ve been actively involved in the diversity and inclusion space for the past 10 years, alongside my regular day job. I’m passionate about using my skills and experience to break down stereotypes and to help educate senior managers.
As I’ve never had anyone championing me at work, I decided to pour that energy and enthusiasm into championing others. It’s so important to me and those around me that our voices are heard. We all bring something to the table, and our unique perspectives as a person with a disability or long term condition enriches teams, programmes and events.
I graduated in International Journalism in 2008 and after a number of rejections, I eventually landed a job at a big media company that had a disability talent scheme — which led to me working there for 7 years, moving around various newsrooms and working on some amazing projects.
It was in this role, I decided to become a mentor, to inspire new mentees. The scheme was how I had started my career and I wanted to share my journey to inspire others, and support them through theirs.
Now, as Co-chair for ITN Ability, I’m driving lots of inclusivity changes across the business, helping to create a more accessible, inclusive workplace, from introducing handrails where needed, to removing unnecessary doors in the building, to advocating for persons with disabilities in our choice of presenters for our programmes.
As an example of this, disability activist and paraplegic Sophie Morgan interviewed author and activist Laura Henry-Allain MBE as part of the ‘Global Gamechangers‘ International Women’s Day 2023 programme.
The pair met up at North Kensington Library to discuss Laura’s career and her involvement with the Grenfell Memorial Quilt project.
In 2024, we’ll have more initiatives coming through ITN’s Ability network and will continue to promote open discussion around the problems pervading our industry when it comes to attracting and retaining the talent of those with disabilities.
Dani Nadiri is Co-chair of ITN‘s Ability network, which launched in October 2023, to provide strategy and support for accommodating the abilities of all within our workplace.