Disability and Unemployment in Trinidad and Tobago. Nicole Henry University of the West Indies, Faculty of Social Sciences Analyzing Oppression with regards to the Employment of Persons with Disabilities in Trinidad and Tobago. Defining oppression.
University of the West Indies,
Faculty of Social Sciences
Analyzing Oppression with regards to the Employment of Persons with Disabilities in Trinidad and Tobago
1.Exploitation- the social processes whereby the dominant group is able to accumulate status and power from the energy and labor of subordinate groups
2. Marginalization – the exclusion of whole groups from useful and meaningful participation in society.
4. Cultural imperialism- the social institutions are based on the cultural experiences of the dominant group, which measures the subordinate group by dominant norms.
5. Violence – includes not just physical violence, but harassment, ridicule, intimidation and alienation which serves the purpose of stigmatizing group members
3. Structural or Institutional.
To quote an interview done with 31 year old Robert, an unemployed young man with cerebral palsy.
“ One of my friends in a wheelchair went to an interview. The boss man, when he saw my friend told him that if he [the employer] had known that the friend was in a wheelchair, he would not have told him to come for an interview.”
Social relations and oppression – In the case of persons of disabilities, the oppression at the cultural and structural level are intertwined because they are based on the medical model.
Economic relations and oppression – Trinidad and and Tobago, as most of the rest of the world, ascribes to a capitalistic economic system with the values of individualism and maximizing profit and productivity while minimizing loss. This however, does not always bode well for disadvantaged groups on society, particularly persons with disabilities.
In addition, 57% of those who were working were employed in jobs that require a low level of education.
This differential access to education leads to high level of low income for persons with disabilities. 63% of persons with disabilities earn less than $1000 per month, with about half of that 63% earning less than $500 per month.
“ The ideal of representative democracy is very different from its actual practice.”(Mullaly,2002).In the case of Trinidad and Tobago as with other representative democracies, one of this form of government's weakness is the fact that there right to vote every few years means that it can limit the population's participatory input into the decision making process somewhat.
In addition to the social, economic and political elements of structural oppression, it can also be noted that , for persons with disabilities, there is also an infrastructural element of structural oppression as well.
The United Nations Standard Rules for the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.
Work trials were begun in eight (8) government ministries and 2 private sector organizations. They were successful with 29 out the 30 persons gaining further employment.
The Public Transport Service Corporation acquired five (5) buses to accommodate persons with disabilities which were commissioned to active service from November 2004.These buses are used exclusively to transport both adults and children who suffer from physical disabilities.
The National Library Systems Authority (NALIS) provides services for the disabled in the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago, situated in Port of Spain. There are assistive technologies available to the visually impaired in the Children’s , Adult and Heritage Libraries.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has established the Student Support Services Division to address students in vulnerable students, providing diagnostic and prescriptive, guidance and counseling, social work and special education services as well as provision of special education training for teachers.
The National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) provides persons with disabilities with effective and efficient training and rehabilitation services. The organization offers a comprehensive training and rehabilitation program.
Expansion of library information technology services to more areas, especially in rural communities. Expansion of library information technology services to more areas, especially in rural communities.
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