Disability inclusion: How to overcome the barriers to a career in global development

A participant using a braille laptop during the tenth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Photo by: Manuel Elias / United Nations

Across all industries, people with disabilities can face physical and social barriers to employment. The development sector can, however, be particularly challenging, explains Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, advocacy and policy researcher for the National Federation of the Blind. While he has always been up front in telling potential employers that he is a blind person, Hedtler-Gaudette acknowledges that doing so can result in fewer call backs.

“Misperceptions about the capacity and capabilities of people with all kinds of disabilities” are commonplace, Hedtler-Gaudette says. “In the development space, it’s even more pertinent.” He notes that there is an “attitude that people with disabilities can’t be out in the field or they can’t do certain things,” but he points out that these assumptions are often false.

About the author

  • Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a Reporter at Devex. She covers all things related to careers and hiring in the global development community as well as mental health within the sector — from tips on supporting humanitarian staff to designing mental health programs for refugees. Emma has reported from key development hubs in Europe and co-produced Devex’s DevProWomen2030 podcast series. She holds a degree in journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University and a master's in media and international conflict. In addition to writing for regional news publications, she has worked with organizations focused on child and women’s rights.