There is an opportunity for workplaces in the Philippines to be more inclusive, especially for persons with disabilities. Based on a recent study, many PWD job seekers are still seen twice as likely to be unemployed than able-bodied applicants.
This inspired global financial provider Refinitiv to launch a local chapter of its employee program Refinitiv Ability Network, spearheaded by the Manila Operations Center. RAN seeks to build, promote and sustain an inclusive working environment, and raise awareness and acceptance of disabilities, both visible and non-visible.
“Diversity and inclusion have always been one of our key commitments at Refinitiv Philippines,” says Lei Buendia, Refinitiv director for contributed content operations and Manila co-site lead, who also serves as the executive sponsor of the RAN-PH Chapter. “This is why we continuously support programs such as RAN that advocate for a welcoming workplace where everyone is valued and has equal access to opportunities.”
RAN is one of the company’s newest movements under the #RefinitivEmployeeNetworks, which supports the cause of underrepresented groups in the corporate world. The umbrella program includes the Refinitiv Prism Network for the LGBTQ community and Refinitiv Women Network.
Refinitiv Philippines rolled out its inaugural RAN activity through a series of webinars for both employees and the public. Led by expert disability advocates from various industries, the three-part virtual talks were meant to break down barriers that isolate PWDs from society and likewise educate the public on how they can support and give a voice to the disabled community.
The talks featured Dr. Violeta Bautista, head of Clinical Psychology in UP Diliman; Will Jelbert, customer and success manager and bestselling author of The Happiness Animal; and Ryan Gersava, social entrepreneur and founder and president of PWD-advocate company Virtualahan Inc. Their sessions delved into inclusive topics such as mental and emotional wellbeing amid the pandemic, and the social struggles of PWDs and their rights.
“At Refinitiv, we believe that PWDs deserve equal levels of respect and opportunity as any able-bodied person,” says Jeff Dawis, director for Order Rights Management and Manila co-site lead. “Through RAN, we aim to give light on the many faces of disability to empower those living with them and increase public awareness to help remove the stigma on the community.”
Following these pilot activities, Refinitiv will roll-out webinars on mental, physical and emotional disabilities, including one to celebrate Autism Awareness Month in July.
Refinitiv is also investing in internal efforts such as disability training and exchange of best practices to further involve their employees and give disabled colleagues the confidence and opportunity to showcase their talents just like any able-bodied individual.
Refinitiv is also leading the industry toward diversity and inclusion causes. Last year, the company recognized the Top 100 global organizations in its 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Index which utilized innovative analytics to rate companies based on four main pillars: diversity, inclusion, people development and controversies.
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