The Evolving Woman Magazine

Now available on Issuu | By Duquesa D. Dean

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For centuries, society has taught us that certain people simply cannot succeed in the business world. Women have only recently reached a point where we’re beginning to be taken seriously in the workplace, and even that has a long way to go. Women with disabilities, however, are often in an even more precarious position when it comes to starting their careers.

However, there are more opportunities for people of all abilities than ever before, and now is a phenomenal time for women with disabilities to enter the business world. Duquesa D. Dean is passionate about helping all women reach their goals. To that end, here’s a look at how to get started with your business career.

Paving Your Own Way

When it comes to entering the business world, there’s no way quite like starting your own business. This can be an especially empowering move for women with disabilities. After all, if you’re self-employed, you are in charge of your schedule, workload, and workspace. You can add extra work to bring in more income, lighten your schedule to recharge your batteries, and work in a safe, comfortable environment.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider working in a freelance capacity for a while. This will give you a taste for business ownership, and help you develop some of the discipline and time-management skills you’ll need to thrive later on. There are tons of fields with freelance opportunities, from PR and marketing to computer science and more. Using online job boards to find clients allows you to dip your toe into business management waters.

You might discover that you love working this way and decide to build a business based around your work. That said, sometimes self-employment just isn’t the right fit. If you give it a shot and it doesn’t work out, you’ll still have made some extra income along the way; not to mention, contract work looks excellent on your resume.

Embrace Accessible Companies

More and more businesses have started to work on creating a more diverse workforce and, as a result, are interested in hiring people with disabilities. However, some companies are better than others when it comes to offering accommodations. Check out this list of accessible workplaces to get your job search off to the best start.

Even at these companies, however, it’s important to know your rights. If you get hired for a company (on or off the list above), they must make reasonable accommodations in order for you to perform your job duties. If they refuse, you’ll have to advocate for yourself or turn to an advocacy group to do so for you. Ideally, you’ll never need to use this information, but it’s better to have it and not need it than the other way around.

Consider Remote Work

Technology is one of the simplest and most effective reasons the business world is becoming more accessible. Remote work allows people with disabilities to work out of their homes, which can be far safer and more comfortable. Although this can feel bothering at a mostly in-person office, more and more companies are expanding their remote workforce, so you’re unlikely to be the only person working from home. Moreover, some companies are fully remote to begin with, which makes working remotely far less alienating.

That said, remote work can come with its own accessibility issues. For example, if you’re hard of hearing or have auditory processing issues, it can be challenging to communicate over video chat. Most professional video chatting services have an auto caption setting, and while these aren’t perfect, they’re pretty reliable - and getting better every day. Remote work isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but it can open up a world of opportunities for women who can’t safely work out of their homes.

Women with disabilities deserve the opportunities to reach their goals. As the workplace gets more accessible and more companies recognize the value of a truly diverse workforce, opportunities will become even more plentiful. For now, we hope this article helps you come up with a plan for making your dreams a reality.

 

Linda Chase created Able Hire to help people with disabilities build rewarding, successful careers. As a person with disabilities herself, Linda understands the challenges people with disabilities face when trying to get hired. She hopes Able Hire will be a resource for people with disabilities seeking jobs and for hiring managers seeking a better understanding of what people with disabilities have to offer. https://ablehire.org/

Photo Credit: Pexels

 

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