This was a part of Melbourne Knowledge Week and I was invited to participate. Normally it is about $100 to attend for the day and drinks. This conference is for people that work in technology and how they can learn to be more inclusive and equitable to people who are multicultural, refugees, Aboriginals, women and people with disabilities.
This years theme was inclusion, equity, and diversity and how companies can be more diverse and include everyone in there. A big theme of this was disability and mental health. There was also talk about the Aboriginal community and how they can be included in everyday society.
So how does a company employ Inclusion in their policies?
Inclusion is about making everyone feel welcome in society and in the workforce. And its about making ideas be heard. Its also about starting with everyone in mind and getting rid of the rulebook.
In Australia, we are crap at listening and learning about other people and cultures.
We need money to make ideas work and be accessible for all. Women, in particular, invest about $2000. You need to get grants and you must have a good design and purpose when applying for the grant. You should surround yourself with some good advice.
Oh, and you should take care of yourself in whatever means possible.
So how can business work with people who have a disability?
They need to uphold their reputation and they need to include everyone in. Processes and systems are changing all the time. They may have to bring in a specialist or employ some specialist technology.
You have to realize that we don’t know everything and it is normal as we are human after all.
They also need to have those difficult conversations with people and create awareness so that there is no racism and everyone belongs. They also need to have more understanding and recognize the values that people with a disability can offer such as less sick days and being more productive.
People with disabilities should be treated equally. Also, people who are transgender should be able to find jobs easily.
People with disabilities have rights and you may not be able to see their disability. These people have a hard time finding jobs. In Melbourne, there is a company called Accessibility OZ who employs people with disabilities and helps them to find jobs in the workforce. They have been around for 8 years. They work with large corporations on creating awareness and change. At Vic Uni there are people with disabilities working there.
And those more vulnerable people
The more vulnerable people would be Aboriginals and those from another country such as Asia who are racially abused in everyday society. How do we go about educating those people that we are all just human beings?
There is a misconception that Aboriginals are the people that drink the most and that is portrayed by the media. So, of course, no one wants to employ them. There is an Aboriginal community that talks about these issues.
There is a Victoria University app which includes information for people from all sorts of different backgrounds. The team made the app with people with disabilities in mind. At Vic Uni physical signage was a challenge as not everyone can read it.
Many thanks to the organizers of the conference for inviting me. I had a lot of fun learning about stuff.