Difest Speaker Series

Headshot of Sheri Byrne-Haber

Assistive technologies help us create an unbiased workforce – Sheri Byrne-Haber

Head of Accessibility, VMware

How will assistive technologies help in creating an unbiased workplace?

The most important thing to understand the needs of users with disabilities is to understand how they process data and interact with software. Learning how assistive technologies work is key to that process. Making software more accessible is the first step to having a more inclusive hiring process which doesn’t intentionally or unintentionally exclude people with disabilities and having more employees with disabilities will lead to a less biased workplace.

If you were given an opportunity to bring about a social change globally, what would that be? Why?

If I had to pick only a single global social change, it would be that all children with disabilities receive a free public education tailored to the needs created by their disability. Too many children with disabilities in developing countries have no educational opportunities. This leaves them illiterate with limited job opportunities and a cycle of poverty that is difficult to break free from.

If I got a second, it would be to have people with disabilities more fairly and authentically included in all media. That would entail 1) No inspiration porn 2) All people with disabilities in movies, TV shows, etc. must be played by people who authentically have those disabilities, and 3) story lines that are not centered around emotional aspects of the character’s disability.