Louder for those up the back:
Disability organisations (and all other organisations) need to stop asking disabled people to work for little to no money. It devalues us.
I got this lucrative offer from a disability support organisation last week – it was initially sent to my speaking agent but she said no, so it came directly to me. I was asked to provide a keynote speech for the payment of $50 – OR donate the payment back to the organisation.
I sent beck this. Angry, and tired this keeps happening.
This is an insulting offer of remuneration. To be paid $50 for a speech is as bad as being asked to work for free.
$50 won’t pay my rent, fuel, food, medication, etc.
It won’t just take one hour. It will take 1-2 days of preparing the speech, plus travel, delivering the speech, plus the emotional energy of answering questions after the speech.
What’s more, it’s taken me 12 years of professional writing and speaking to get to this point.
Asking a disabled person to work for low or no money implies we aren’t worth much, but that we exist solely to benefit others.
Asking us to consider donating it back to the organisation to benefit others implies we are charity.
And a disability organisation offering this fee is incredibly disappointing, given 45 per cent of disabled people live on or below the poverty line, and the rate of unemployment of disabled people is far higher than others.
I hope you don’t ask any more disabled people to speak for this fee, or encourage them to donate it back to the organisation. Please consider paying well above this fee – $1000 is an ideal minimum fee.
Carly Findlay OAM”
I know my worth, and I know my community’s worth. And the staff would be paid, and above paltry wages. So why don’t they value disabled people enough to do the same?
Disabled people need to always say no to these requests.
Yes, I know creatives are often asked to work for free. I work as one. This is specifically about disabled people, though.
(Note: I have not named the disability organisation and have replaced the impairment/diagnosis with the term “disability”.)
Image above: a screen shot of a Facebook post by me. Text reads:
I got this lucrative offer to deliver a keynote speech.
“Agreeing to participate in this program would take approximately 1 hour of your time (excluding travel to and from the site). You may choose to donate your time as an act of goodwill towards people experiencing [disability]. Alternatively, [Organisation] can offer guest speakers a modest payment of $50.”
AN ACT OF GOODWILL!!!