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Working together to achieve more. Sif Holst

European Disability Forum spoke with Sif Holst as a disability rights advocate and Danish candidate to the #CRPD Committee about her vision, the importance of data and the advancement of disability rights and women and girls with disabilities.

Speech General Debate COSP14

The Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was held under the shadow of pandemic. This was the main theme for Sif Holst speech during the General Debate. Watch the video

Changing the mindset: Employment for people with disability

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on our societies – and on the number of unemployed people with disabilities. Our experience with working from home could open new opportunities, and we need to take advantage of this. But in order to fulfill our Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) obligations and ensure opportunities for, for example, people with psychosocial disabilities, we need to do more, we need to change our mindset.

Healthcare for people with disabilities

Back in 2009 I got cancer for the second time, a recurrence. But during my first battle with cancer I was not yet dependent on my wheelchair and so there was some practical issues, which needed to be addressed before my radioactive treatment. I knew from the first round that the hospital I was in did not have any wheelchair accessible bathrooms in connection with the isolation room. And when I made the staff aware of this issue, the answer was “Are you sure you want the treatment”. Eventually the problem was solved, and I was offered the treatment at another hospital in another part of the country.

But unfortunately, I am not the only one to experience situations such as this. In Disabled People’s Organisations Denmark, we have become aware of people with disabilities, being turned away from national cancer screening programs and we have tried to raise awareness about the unequal access to health, that exist when you have a disability – even when you live in Denmark.

A world for all: Universal Design and Universal Courtesy

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, the #CRPD, talks about #accessibility, about enabling “persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life”. But how do we achieve this? In this article I write about the right to access, about UniversalDesign, about my favorite commercial example and the need to also work with UniversalCourtesy, done so well by Copenhagen Airport with the Sunflower Lanyard in order to achieve full access – including achieving accessibility for people with psychosocial disabilities

Working Together to Achieve More – Ms. Sif Holst from Denmark

In order to achieve more, we need to work together.

This week I have mainly focused on the Nordic copperation and the inclusion of people with disabilities in the labour market. Focusing on new opportunities, but also concerned about the digital divide and an increasing gab in education.

Future work: Is there space for people with disabilities?

Two weeks ago I partcipated in this webinar on disability and the future of work.

I have spend most of the recent year in the reference group behind the webinar, looking at how technology can aid persons with disabilities on the labour market. There are great opportunities in this area. But one big obstacle still remains.

Too often employers – and unfortunately sometimes also the labour unions find people with disabilities a marginalised and difficult group to include. Often without any limited experience on the topic.

We need to combat this prejudice, show the potential. We need to interact and show all we can be.

The future of work has changed during this year of pandemic, we see new possibilities, new opportunities and if we do it right we can make a labour market where we can benifit from the unique life experience that comes from living with a disability.