Public Relations practitioners learn about disability in the workplace

The CIPR Diversity Working Group (DWG) played host this week to its most recent Equal Access Network events, this time featuring leading expert on deafness and disability, Jane Cordell.

Public relations practitioners joined members of the CIPR’s Diversity Working Group to discuss disability in the workplace, and question why so few people with disabilities are working in public relations.

Cordell, a former senior official at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, resigned from the FCO after they refused to pay for her support as a deaf employee. Jane has since gone on to become a board member for Disability Rights UK, a Trustee of Manchester Deaf Centre and the Chair of the UK’s largest international disability arts festival, Da Da Fest.

The presentation shared some insight into the disabled community before asking why so few disabled people worked in public relations. Urging the industry to highlight disabled role models and to create an environment where disability becomes normalised, Jane referenced key findings from the report, Press Portrayal of Disabled People, by Disability Rights UK and Political Lobbying and Media Relations (PLMR) which found that disabled people felt that press and public relations did not reflect their world.

Guests enjoyed further discussion and drinks following the presentation, with the opportunity to meet with DWG members Avril Lee MCIPR and Marcia McKnight MCIPR.

Avril Lee MCIPR, DWG member
Jane was a fantastic, inspiring speaker and really shed some light on what we can do to increase accessibility to the public relations profession for disabled people. The DWG intends to take on board everything that she has said, and work hard in collaboration with our fellow practitioners to ensure that we are offering an equitable and obtainable profession for all.
Avril Lee MCIPR, DWG member

The next Equal Access Network event is scheduled for June and will address the issue of gender equality within public relations. Further information will follow.

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public relations (CIPR) is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK. With over 10,000 members involved in all aspects of PR, it is the largest body of its type in Europe. The CIPR advances the public relations profession in the UK by making its members accountable through a code of conduct, developing policies, representing its members and raising standards through education and training.