I am inspired by the creativity of those working to shape our new normal for people of all abilities.
One billion people worldwide are living with a disability. Although “people with disabilities” sometimes refers to a single population, it is actually a diverse group of people with a wide range of abilities. Disabilities can be visible or invisible, and two people with the same type of disability can even be affected in very different ways. We know people living with disabilities are a unique source of talent who can deliver substantial value to our company, our customers and our communities. When we choose to include, we create a culture where every individual can contribute their best.
We celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) annually on December 3 to promote the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities and to take action for inclusion in all aspects of society and development. This year’s IDPD event theme, designated by the United Nations, is Building Back Better: Toward a Disability-Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable Post COVID-19 World.
People with Disabilities are less likely to have access to health care, education and employment. The COVID-19 pandemic—and the subsequent shift in the way we live and work—has further exposed the extent of exclusion in our society and worsened these pre-existing inequalities.
Dow has a long-standing commitment to inclusion and accessibility in the workplace. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams were intentional about creating policies and practices in support of employees with disabilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our employees have been especially resilient to change and responsive to the needs of their colleagues.
COVID-19 has brought significant challenges, but it has also created new opportunities and inspiration. This year, DEN elevated its global focus on mental health and wellbeing to support Team Dow at this critical time.
In a year of enduring change, I am encouraged by the care shown for our most vulnerable populations, the resiliency of people living with disabilities and the support for their families and caregivers. I am inspired by the creativity of those working to shape our new normal for people of all abilities. And I am committed to continue this progress post-pandemic.
It is my hope that we can use the lessons from this past year to build back better.
Mike Witt, Disability Employee Network Management Sponsor
On behalf of the Global DEN Steering Team
We, the blind, interact by touch.
In this moment of isolation when we can’t touch, it is as if we are blind a second time. But Dow has been supporting us. I have daily meetings with my team. I feel they are close, and I use technology to hear their voices, even though they are far away. At Dow, we have reinforced the importance of an information system that is accessible to everyone. Without this system of integration and interaction, I would be totally isolated from the world and unable to perform my duties. Having this support from Dow has been paramount for me to feel productive and not isolated.
Through this experience, I have learned something that I will carry throughout my life: We learn from our differences, and our differences make us better.
Pietro Sanchini, Commercial Sales Specialist, Dow Polyurethanes
Sao Paulo, Brazil