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Unconscious Bias

HIV is the hidden disability that is still holding employees back

By Disability, Diversity, Uncategorised, Unconscious BiasNo Comments

With the advent of antiretroviral therapies (ART) in 1996 the fate of those living with HIV/AIDS changed. They were offered a hope that that they would no longer die an early death but that they could expect to have a better quality of life – potentially even a life where they would be able to work and participate fully in society. Read More

When does Unconscious Bias become Discrimination?

By Disability, Diversity, Unconscious BiasNo Comments

Nobody likes to be told they are biased – usually. Most of us would like to think that we are fair and open-minded, willing to explore the unknown – to a degree, accepting of other people’s differences. At least that’s what I used to think. As a n openly gay man I may perhaps have sometimes felt that a certain person’s behaviour towards me was different to how they behaved to a heterosexual man but that was fine; I could cope with that. And then I became disabled. And all that changed. Read More

Why unconscious bias training is important

By Disability, Diversity, Unconscious BiasNo Comments
  • 67% of the British public feels uncomfortable talking to disabled people and 36% of people tend to think of disabled people as not as productive as everyone 
  • Over one in three people show an unconscious bias against those with a disability, higher than levels of bias on the basis of gender or race. 
  • 80% of all those who become disabled are in employment at the time they acquire a disability, but only 60% are employed the following year, and 36% the year after that.[3]
  • Disabled people are more likely to experience unfair treatment at work (19%) than non-disabled people (13%).[4]

These figures paint a rather bleak picture of how disabled people can be treated at work – and their perception of how they are treated. Unfair treatment can include blatant discrimination but a large part of that can also be just being made to feel ‘uncomfortable’ by people who may not even realise the impact their behaviour is having: unconscious bias. Read More

Are you clean? Combatting stigma

By Disability, Diversity, HIV/AIDS, Unconscious Bias

A few years ago, as Chair of the Disabled Staff Association for a central government department, I arranged for Alistair Campbell to come in and give a talk about his experiences with mental health. I clearly remember one of the things he said was that a recent (at that time) piece of research from a Norwegian University had been published which had identified the areas of medicine professionals would most prefer to practice in. Top of the list were childhood cancers and heart transplants. Not really surprising. Vying for bottom place of the list and therefore the ones that the majority of medical practitioners would really prefer not to touch, even with the proverbial bargepole, were mental health and HIV/AIDS. Perhaps even less surprising but still disappointing. These still remain the most stigmatised of disabilities. Read More

How to Cope With Invisible Disabilities

By Disability, Diversity, Inclusion, Unconscious Bias
Not all disabilities have visible signs, don't suffer alone, seek help

Not all disabilities have visible signs, don’t suffer alone, seek help

Whether a disability is a condition from birth, or one that begins later in life, the one certainty is that it will be challenging. If the disability can’t be seen, it can be even tougher to cope day to day.

Chronic pain conditions, mental health issues and degenerative diseases can be troublesome when out and about, since they stop the person from getting on with things and achieving a quality of life. What’s more, it’s hard to cope when other people don’t  – or can’t – appreciate what you are going through.

If you have an invisible disability and need assistance and guidance, don’t feel you are alone. Here are some ways to help you cope and gain inner strength. Read More

What’s in a birthday?

By Disability, Diversity, HIV/AIDS, Inclusion, Uncategorised, Unconscious Bias

“You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life”. Coco Chanel

It was my birthday last Friday. Not an unusual occurrence; it happens once a year. Most people experience the same thing. According to the World Population Clock ( I probably share this birthday with about 20,535,940 other people. That’s a lot of people! So I’m not alone. But perhaps what is a little bit more special about my birthday to me is that I shouldn’t be here. As I count down (or up?) to the fast approaching next big 0, each birthday becomes more of a time for reflection than for a merry round of social activities. Read More

How do I talk about my disability?

By Disability, Diversity, HIV/AIDS, Inclusion, Unconscious Bias
Disability. Is it my new dirty word? Dis-abled? Less able? Less competent? Can’t do the same as everybody else? It’s a scary word. Both for the person labeled as disabled and for those working around them. The whole disabled vocabulary is fraught.

I ‘acquired’ my disability almost 9 years ago. I went online shopping and there it was. Right colour, right size, how could I resist? And having acquired it I decided that I would ‘declare’ it. Yes, I would stand up on the rooftops, armed with a megaphone and shout out to the world “Here I am, look at me, I’m disabled!” I have ‘disclosed’ my status because, you see, it was such a big secret. Read More