In a globally competitive twenty-first century economy, dynamic, purposeful leadership is required to be successful. Although, not everyone practices leadership. That is not to say that not everyone can practice leadership, only that some do and some do not. Historically there have been groups of people who have been less active in prominent leadership positions due to a variety of reasons. Ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and the disabled are a few examples of these groups. In these cases, discrimination was without doubt a factor as to why they have often been denied equal opportunity to practice leadership. One of the most prevailing forms of discrimination is, in fact, against the disabled. Eighty-three years after Franklin Delano Roosevelt boldly defied traditional views of leadership to be elected President of the United States of America as a victim of Polio and over twenty years since the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted, one would assume the physically disabled had moved past historical stigmas and into being equally considered for leadership positions. However, research suggests that the physically disabled still have a long road to achieving equality of opportunity.
In 2013 only 39.6% of United States citizens with ambulatory disabilities holding a Bachelor’s degree were employed (Erickson, Lee, and von Schrader, 2015). This means nearly two-thirds of these people are unemployed as compared to the national average of 6.7% at this time, including persons of all education levels (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Therefore, it is evident that those with ambulatory disabilities are not given equal opportunity to even get a job. The exact reason for this is unknown, bu...
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...ree o’clock it was too much for me to handle and I returned my wheelchair. The fact that the student health center needed it back by four o’clock was also a slight factor.
Although I was not tough enough to make it the entire day in a wheelchair, I gained valuable perspective from my six immobile hours. As people walked by and gazed in confusion, I thought to myself how they wouldn’t do that if they were in my situation. It’s not a myth that the disabled are treated differently, looked down upon even. However, there is no substance behind these stigmas. As if the social discrimination isn’t enough, I can’t imagine trying to support myself financially this way, let alone being a leader. Not only does the world not want people with disabilities to lead, the discrimination they face on a daily basis can make them feel as though they are not fit to practice leadership.
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