Equality through Difference: Policy Values, Human Rights, and Social Justice in the Employment Participation of People with Disabilities

  • Sarah Parker Harris
  • Randall Owen
  • Robert Gould


Since the postwar period, conceptions of disability have shifted from a status involving isolation and segregation to one that recognizes equal rights and participation. An integral factor in participation, the right to work, is recognized as a fundamental human right by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD 2006). However, people with disabilities continue to be impeded by a disabling society embedded in structural and attitudinal barriers. People with disabilities are denied equal citizenship, which has been exacerbated in recent years as governments continue to face challenges in increasing the social and economic participation of people with disabilities. Particularly in liberal welfare states, contemporary disability employment policy embraces a neoliberal discourse and focuses on the development of workfare programs that encourage labor force participation as the principle means of achieving equality. This has resulted in a limited policy focus that fails to account for all the economic and cultural steps needed to ensure parity of participation of people with disabilities. This chapter uses examples from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia of active labor market programs aimed at moving people with disabilities from welfare to work.


Labor Market Employment Service Welfare Reform Labor Market Participation Active Citizenship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Matthew Wappett and Katrina Arndt 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Parker Harris
  • Randall Owen
  • Robert Gould

There are no affiliations available

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