Economic inequalities experienced by disabled people

12 September 2019

Business Disability Forum’s Head of Policy and Research, speaks on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour

Business Disability Forum’s Head of Policy and Research, Angela Matthews, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour this morning on the economic inequalities experienced by disabled people, particularly women. The interview was part of a wider piece looking at how race, gender and disability all intersect and affect a person’s economic experience.

Speaking on why disabled women often work in voluntary roles, Angela Matthews, said:

"Talented bright young women with a disability are graduating with a great degree but are going into voluntary roles because they can't get into paid employment. Many workplaces are still physically and non-physically inaccessible and there is still a limited view on what flexible work really means.

“Disabled women tell us we want to start a lot earlier, have a bigger break during the day and go into evening. There are a reduced number of roles which are flexible to that degree."

Commenting on gender stereotypes, Angela highlighted the findings of recent research conducted by Business Disability Forum on men’s mental health. 

"The men we interviewed for our [mental health] research told us 'yes we agree we are being seen as protector and breadwinner and we don’t like it'. 'We don’t want to be seen like this because it is a huge pressure.' We found that these subconscious gender inequality stereotypes which we think are becoming less in society are transferring into our careers and workplaces.”

Speaking about the need to create a caring economy and whether it is the responsibility of Government or business, Angela said:

“We need to look at what needs to be changed… to stop things like social care collapsing. The benefit for business of being at the forefront of this is that they can probably drive change quicker than Government. The incentive…happy staff who work hard and have good work life balance.”

You can listen to the interview in full, here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008b88

Listen from 10.15 to 10.29