Accessibility barriers and insufficient support services key hurdles for persons with disabilities: ILO Future of Work Report paints a bleak picture, urges immediate remedial measures

07, Dec 2019 | Deborah Grey

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has just released a report that highlights how challenges to participation in the workforce make persons with disabilities vulnerable to poverty and social exclusion.

The report titled Making the future of work inclusive of people with disabilities is a joint publication by the ILO Global Business and Disability Network and the ONCE Foundation. There are an estimated 1 billion people worldwide who live with some form of sensory, motor, mental and other types of disabilities.

In India, protection of rights of persons with disabilities fall under the purview of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. As per data from the 2011 census, 2.68 crore people are living with disability in India. This is approximately 2.21 percent of the population of the country.

Rights of persons with disabilities is a part of one of our four pillars. CJP is committed to empowering persons with disabilities by pushing for inclusivity and accessibility. We also advocate an intersectional approach to reforms. You too can contribute to this mission. Please donate now.

Persons with disabilities are considered one of the groups meriting specific attention in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that provide the framework for inclusive global sustainable development efforts for the coming decade. Moreover, article 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognises the right of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others.

The ILO Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work adopted in June 2019 states, the ILO itself must work towards, among other issues: “Ensuring equal opportunities and treatment in the world of work for persons with disabilities, as well as for other persons in vulnerable situations.”

The Future of Work report identifies the following five key objectives for inclusion of persons with disabilities in the future of work:

  1. New forms of employment and employment relations integrate disability inclusion
  2. Skills development and life-long learning made inclusive of persons with disabilities
  3. Universal Design embedded in development of all new infrastructure, products and services
  4. Assistive technologies, existing and newly developed, to be made affordable and available
  5. Measures to include persons with disabilities in growing and developing areas of the economy

The report further says, “Data from eight regions across the world show that 36% of persons with disabilities of working age are in employment, compared to 60% for persons without disabilities. In most countries, persons with disabilities in employment are more likely to be in vulnerable employment, or to be paid less than persons without disabilities.”

The report goes on to list factors that create an environment that does not enable persons with disability to thrive. These include:

  • Accessibility barriers in built environments, transport, products and services
  • Non-inclusive education and vocational training leading to lower levels of education and training among persons with disabilities
  • Inadequate support for youth with disabilities in transition from school to work
  • Low level of capacity of public employment services to support persons with disabilities

The entire report may be read below.

(Feature Image Credit –


Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Annual Report 2018-19

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Annual Report 2017-18


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