Disability, Hiring, and the Glass Staircase

I would argue that for a lot of graduate jobs, there’s a significant barrier to entry for neurodiverse and disabled people. I like to call this barrier the “glass staircase”. YouTuber Gem Hubbard is a wheelchair user and has a great video on the concept, but I’d like to extend her metaphor beyond physical impairments because I believe it provides a useful framework to understand the job-hunting process for those with invisible or neurological disabilities too.

For all intents and purposes, the “staircase” is the relatively streamlined application process for jobs, that appears simple to non-disabled people, but which has plenty of obstacles for disabled people.

While it’s possible to negotiate the staircase when companies meet an individual’s access requirements, this often requires disabled applicants to put in significantly more time and effort than their non-disabled peers. We are constantly dependent on other people to allow us to continue in the application process without disadvantage.

Having to explain the same thing again and again at different stages, to different people, at different employers, is mentally strenuous and time-consuming – and used to regularly makes me wonder if what’s at the top is even worth it if it’s so much of a hassle getting there.

Source: Serena Bhandari – Jobstacle Course | Touretteshero


I updated “Transitioning from invisible to visible disability” with a selection from “I’m Not ‘Bound’ To A Wheelchair; I Was Freed By One | HuffPost”.

People with mobility challenges use mobility aids; they aren’t confined or bound by them. They are tools, not traps. We are no more held back by them than is someone using a plane or boat to cross an ocean. They are all simply means we use to get places we wouldn’t be able to navigate without them.

I regret not acknowledging my need for help earlier. I wish I had not equated a walker with defeat or shame. I now talk about walkers, wheelchairs and other disability aids with anyone who will listen in hopes of destigmatizing them and the people who use them. Freedom, not confinement. Tools, not traps. I will keep repeating this until everyone who needs to break free feels comfortable using them.

Source: I’m Not ‘Bound’ To A Wheelchair; I Was Freed By One | HuffPost