By Donna J. Jodhan
This is a question that has been asked over the last many years and continues to be asked. Several blind employees along with those working in the field of employment for those who are blind have raised this question and so now I ask it once more. I am not sure if I have the answer. I can only speculate.
I do not have any stats on hand to provide in support of my opinion but it is my respectful belief that indeed there is a glass ceiling in the workplace for blind persons. Rightly or wrongly, it seems to exist and there could be several contributing factors to this. I’ll proffer some of my own perspectives and invite you to comment and discuss.
Before sharing my opinions on this somewhat sensitive subject, I will define what I mean by the term glass ceiling. It is the term used to describe the maximum level to which a blind person can be expected to rise in their company of employment, i.e., expectation on the part of the blind employee and expectation on the part of management.
Undoubtedly, there are some very competent blind persons who have and continue to make their mark in the workplace but there are artificial barriers that continue to prevent them from breaking through the so-called glass ceiling. Factors such as:
- Hesitation on the part of management to recognize the potential of those blind employees who do indeed show potential.
- Technological barriers that either prevent or encumber the progress of a blind employee.
- Hesitation or unwillingness of some coworkers to be open minded to the potential of their fellow blind coworkers.
- Lack of proper or adequate training for blind employees which, if available, could greatly help to increase their chances of breaking through the glass ceiling.
- A possible attitude on the part of a blind employee that there does indeed exist a glass ceiling.
I describe these factors as artificial barriers because they are fixable in many ways. The technology factor or barrier may be the most difficult to tackle but once recognized, it too can be dealt with. Next month, some fixable suggestions.
These are just my thoughts for the day.
I’m Donna J. Jodhan your free lance writer and roving reporter wishing you a terrific day.
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