In Argentina, an alarming statistics has surfaced where a mere 13% of individuals with disabilities are employed. A chilling reflection of a global trend, this statistic shows the stark reality faced by the 1.594 million holders of the Unique Disability Certificate (CUD) in the country. A staggering 87.4% of them are unemployed, facing the harsh reality of a world where disabled individuals have double the unemployment rate of their non-disabled counterparts. Particularly vulnerable are women with disabilities, who encounter significant barriers in finding and maintaining employment.
McDonald's Argentina: A Case of Inclusive Employment
Amidst this bleak landscape, there are glimmers of hope. McDonald's Argentina, operated by Arcos Dorados, is one such beacon. The company has been acclaimed for its inclusive employment practices, illustrated by the experiences of Maria Josefina Lopez, a champion skater with Down syndrome, and Gustavo Salinas, a former employee for 25 years. Arcos Dorados has taken active steps to adapt work environments to cater to the needs of employees with disabilities, fostering a culture of respect and inclusion.
Impacting Lives Across Latin America
The company's efforts are not confined to Argentina alone. Across Latin America, Arcos Dorados employs around 2,400 people with disabilities, including 141 in Argentina. The company's commitment to inclusion is further embodied in the Supported Employment Program. This initiative, in partnership with the DISCAR Foundation, promotes the inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities, providing them with an opportunity to be part of the regular workforce. So far, this program has enabled 400 people to gain employment at Arcos Dorados, with 82 currently part of the program.
United in Action: International Day for Persons with Disabilities
As we celebrate the International Day for Persons with Disabilities in 2023, themed as 'United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for with and by persons with disabilities', it is important to highlight the role of such inclusive practices. The day aims at fostering understanding of disability issues and supporting the dignity, rights, and well-being of people with disabilities. It calls for a culture of trust within organizations that encourages employees to self-identify anonymously, leading to true inclusion. Companies like McDonald's Argentina and many others are leading the way in creating such an environment.