News / 22 Dec 2022 3 min

Shape Talent featured in The Global Recruiter: Barriers high for Women with a Disability

First published on The Global Recruiter

New survey by gender equality consultancy Shape Talent has unveiled new insights into how women with a disability are obstructed at all stages of their career by societal, organisational and personal barriers. The research is part of a wider report on the barriers that prevent women advancing in the workplace, in equal numbers to men.

The survey of over 2,300 women found that 64 per cent of women with a disability are more likely than women without a disability to be undermined or dismissed in meetings, and are 55 per cent more likely than women without a disability to feel inadequate at work. Additionally, 63 per cent of women with a disability reported feeling that working beyond contractual hours is expected.

The research also found that 46 per cent of women with a disability felt undermined or dismissed in meetings and 35 per cent felt penalised for speaking up.

Moreover, 39 per cent of women with a disability felt unable to negotiate the conditions of their offer, further hindering their ability to progress and feel valued by the company. The survey also identified issues with work performance relating to women with a disability, with 61 per cent reporting they worry about how they are perceived in meetings and 45 per cent said their home situation reduces their time and energy at work.

In addition to this, 44 per cent of women with a disability said they find the transition hard from work and home in their new job, signalling an urgent overhaul of work culture and meeting the needs of employees. A further 45 per cent also said they feel inadequate at work.

Organisations are under pressure from many corners when it comes to driving greater gender equality yet, despite these pressures, women remain significantly under-represented in positions of power.

A full, thorough list of recommendations can be found in the report here.

“Sadly, the hard-earned gains in gender equality pre-pandemic have been wiped out and these are felt by women with a disability most of all,” said Sharon Peake, founder & CEO of Shape Talent. “The time for incremental change is long gone – real progress requires bold actions from organisations to fundamentally rethink the outdated ways of working that are holding women with a disability, and organisations themselves, back.

“Never has there been a more important time to act. We must seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create truly inclusive ways of working in order to unlock the full economic and social potential of women with a disability.

She added: “Although awareness and behavioural change is a critical step within the cultural shift, engrained gender and disability biases are hard to shift. By focusing on addressing systemic barriers first, we can influence change at scale and help start to challenge the associated behaviours.”