“Disability is something done to people, not a condition that people have”

Written by CMI Insights Wednesday 07 December 2022
A new CMI documentary explores how managers can (and must) reframe their mindset around disability
A man sitting in a wheelchair with a laptop

Lord Kevin Shinkwin, member of the House of Lords and disability advocate, remembers a time when he was turned away from a building because he couldn’t make himself understood.” 

“I was, for all intents and purposes, non-disabled, I just got on with my life a bit differently. Then came the neurosurgery, and I couldn't breathe. I was reliant on oxygen. I couldn't swallow for about five months. And I took about three years to learn to talk again. The humiliation, the discrimination, made me realise that it was unavoidable: I was severely disabled.”

The word “disability” can hold a lot of stigmas for a lot of people. CMI’s The Workplace Inclusivity Illusion report found that one in ten disabled people have resigned from their jobs because they felt discriminated against. According to TUC research into disabled people’s experiences during the pandemic, one in eight disabled workers did not tell their employers about their disability, health condition or impairment. Many believed that telling their employer would lead to negative consequences.

Related: Lord Shinkwin: “Disability is a Cinderella – a poor relative of EDI”

Lord Shinkwin is one of several people with experience of disabilities or impairments featured in CMI’s The Workplace in Review documentary on disability. The film aims to highlight the barriers and hurdles that disabled people face in the workplace, and how they can be addressed more effectively.

Log in to watch the documentary film


If you are already registered as a CMI Friend, Subscriber or Member, just login to view this article.

Confirm your registration

Login below to confirm your details and access this article.


Please confirm that you want to switch off the "Sign in with email" remember me feature.

Register for Free Access

Not yet a Member, Subscriber or Friend? Register as a CMI Friend for free, and get access to this and many other exclusive resources, as well as weekly updates straight to your inbox.

You have successfully registered

As a CMI Friend, you now have access to whole range of CMI Friendship benefits.

Please login to the left to confirm your registration and access the article.