Wheelchair-using minister not able to attend the Cop26 summit due to accessibility issues; Globally Covid-19’s impact on employment will be worse than predicted

Wheelchair-using minister not able to attend the Cop26 summit due to accessibility issues; Globally Covid-19’s impact on employment will be worse than predicted

Today’s news summary brings news from Scotland and the United Kingdom and discusses issues as diverse as disability, Covid-19 and its impact on global employment, and discrimination. 

Wheelchair-using minister not able to attend the Cop26 summit due to accessibility issues
Labor markets and institutions | Demography, family, and gender

Karine Elharrar, Israel’s energy and water resources minister, uses a wheelchair due to having muscular dystrophy. She was made to wait two hours outside the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference because organizers refused to let her in with the wheelchair she had arrived in, The Guardian reports. According to her office she “was eventually offered a shuttle transport to the summit area, but the shuttle was not wheelchair-accessible, forcing her to return to her hotel in Edinburgh.” Elharrar wrote on Twitter that she felt that it was sad that the United Nations, an organization that traditionally “promotes accessibility for people with disabilities”, did not provide accessibility to the Cop26 summit. The UK ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan, has since tweeted that he had apologized to the minister and highlighted that the aim is to have a summit that is inclusive of everyone.

IZA World of Labor author Melanie Jones has found that disability is associated with labor market disadvantage and the “evidence points to this being a causal relationship”. Read her article Disability and labor market outcomes.

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Globally Covid-19’s impact on employment will be worse than predicted
Demography, family, and gender | Labor markets and institutions

According to the latest figures from the International Labor Organization, the number of working hours lost due to Covid-19 is estimated to be “significantly higher” than previously thought. Bloomberg reports that the United Nations agency foresees the global hours worked this year will be just over four percent below their pre-pandemic levels, or equating to 125 million full-time jobs. The regions that are experiencing the worst declines include Africa, the Americas and the Arab States. “A two-speed recovery between developed and developing nations threatens the global economy. This great divergence is largely driven by the major differences in the roll-out of vaccinations and fiscal stimulus packages,” the ILO said.

Karen Clay, IZA World of Labor contributor, has looked at previous pandemics and their impact on the labor market. Read her opinion piece.

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London’s deputy mayor speaks out about facing discrimination as a woman of colour in politics
Program evaluation | Migration and ethnicity | Labor martkets and institutions | Demography, family and gender

Dr. Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor, Communities and Social Justice, has said that she has faced discrimination at her workplace. As a leading member of Sadiq Khan’s team, she has felt that some of her past colleagues have doubted her work due to her being a woman of colour, i news reports. She described experiencing “general micro-aggressions” at her work as well as having her work double-checked in order to ensure accuracy. “They are the sorts of general micro-aggressions that you experience where you’re never sure if it’s because you’re female or because you’re a woman of colour,” Dr. Weekes-Bernard said when describing the kind of abuse she experienced. She added that there were doubts about her ability as well as assumptions as to whether she had double checked the information she has given to colleagues.

IZA World of Labor author Marie-Anne Valfort believes that prejudice-reducing policies such as ones that are implemented at school level (e.g. de-biasing interventions) can help in reducing discrimination later on in life. Read her full article.

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