#PurpleLightUp challenges the narrative around disability in the workplace

#PurpleLightUp celebrates the economic empowerment of disabled people across the globe in support of International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

PurpleSpace has launched an awareness day to remind people of its #PurpleLightUp movement, created to rebalance the narrative around disability, deficit and work.

Driven by the experiences of disabled staff, disability people networks, employers and allies, the #PurpleLightUp social movement allows disabled people to share learning about getting on at work and to enjoy the support of like-minded people and employers across the globe. 


PurpleSpace hopes that on December 3rd, the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, more businesses, governments, disabled employees and their allies will commit on social media to using hashtag #PurpleLightUp, and showing what happens when disabled employees are able to thrive and flourish at work.

PurpleSpace, the world’s only network of Disabled Employee Networks was created to build a better world for disabled employees – one that disabled employees are creating for themselves.

CEO Kate Nash OBE, Creator #PurpleLightUp and CEO, PurpleSpace, said: “2019 marks the third anniversary of #PurpleLightUp, a movement led by disabled employees and our allies celebrating our economic contribution.

“This year we are aligning #PurpleLightUp with The Valuable 500 and ensuring our work continues to support the work of the Global Business and Disability Network, part of the International Labour Organization (ILO). This combination of Board and policy level commitment to improving disability inclusion informed by the lived experience of disabled people, will continue to improve awareness and opportunities for disabled people across the world.”


PurpleSpace works with the Global Business and Disability Network, part of the ILO to keep them appraised of the #PurpleLightUp movement and the themes that enable disability employee networks/resource groups, allies and champions to combine efforts to improve the rights of disabled people and further our social inclusion.

Last year, #PurpleLightUp was recognized by individuals and organisations such as EY in 19 countries including: Africa, Australia, Canada, Holland, Europe, Japan, Middle East, New Zealand, India, Philippines, US and UK.  In Canada 21 government buildings were lit purple and in Hong Kong Allegis Global Solutions had colleagues wear wigs on the 3rd December.

#PurpleLightUp’s 2019 strategic partners are Fujitsu, Project People, Omniserv, Enterprise Holdings and leading disability charity Scope.


ONS statistics

The news comes as the latest employment statistics for disabled people in the UK from the ONS show that disabled employees earn 88p for every £1 earned by non-disabled employees.

Dr Jill Miller, diversity and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said: “It’s encouraging to see progress has been made on narrowing the disability employment gap, but there is still a way to go to achieve equality of opportunity. Too many disabled people continue to face prejudice and struggle to get into employment or to remain in work and are less likely to progress to senior management roles or to work in professional occupations.

“Businesses that aren’t inclusive – and don’t manage health and disability effectively – risk missing out on hard working and talented individuals and damaging their reputation among staff and customers. They could also face legal action if they fail to comply with equalities law.

“Employers can help to close the disability employment and progression gap by ensuring that line managers are aware of their responsibilities around making reasonable adjustments. These are often perfectly achievable, such as providing flexibility over working patterns.”


Hear more from Kate Nash at the DiversityQ D&I Practitioners Summit on December 4.

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