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Nielsen drives equity for people with disabilities

Did you know that about 15% of the world’s population, or 1 billion people worldwide, is living with a disability? Whether a disability is seen or unseen, living with a disability is the reality for millions. That’s why Nielsen made a commitment to bring awareness to disability inclusion, as part of the Valuable 500—500 global companies focused on putting disability inclusion on the business agenda.

“We are proud to revolutionize disability inclusion through corporate leadership, and commit to representing people with disabilities across the full suite of Nielsen products and insights,” said David Kenny, Nielsen CEO. “This is a global movement to put disability on the business leadership agenda inside Nielsen and in media representation.”

Earlier this year, Nielsen released articles to raise awareness about the lack of disability representation in media content and advertising. Nielsen’s insights and data uncover what’s missing in media content and highlights how brands, agencies and the media as a whole can advance the representation of disability in on-screen content.

With the 2020 Paralympics, we hosted a panel conversation with former IPC chairman and Paralympian Sir Philip Craven along with Isaac Zablocki of Reelabilities. The panel included a conversation about the power of film to tell the stories of para-athletes at the top of their game, drawing viewers with a disability and educating allies. Our employees also enjoyed a virtual screening of Positive All the Way¸ which features Sir Philip Craven.

“You have to let people see people performing,” says Craven. “The perceptions that you want to change have to be done subliminally or subconsciously. Seeing that determination in individuals who may be perceived as having similar impairments to the observer/viewer, seeing them fight to overcome difficulties, hopefully that will inspire them. Inspire them to say, ‘I can transform my life as well.’ If it doesn’t inspire them to action, it inspires them to think that there is a future. These positive experiences can carry people forward.”

Nielsen also released a few insights about parasports, spotlighting Paralympians throughout the years.

In Nielsen’s everyday life, its ADEPT (Abled and Disabled Employees Partnering Together) Business Resource Group fosters and helps raise awareness around living with a disability and ending the stigma around having one. The group has focused on teaching people that having a disability is not something to overcome, but something to be respected and accepted. ADEPT creates a safe, encouraging space to have conversations as well as educational sessions through business efforts.

As a part of the Valuable 500 commitment, ADEPT leaders are developing a companywide disability training program. Through years of feedback and development, this internal initiative will feature new diversity hiring standards as well as on-going managerial training workshops, educating future leaders on how to enable the full potential of neuro-diverse team members.

Nielsen is also currently undergoing an extensive global accessibility research effort to ensure all physical facilities are accessible for people with disabilities. This effort will roll out to employees in the near future with an assessment covering our 100+ offices around the world. Through this assessment, we hope to literally open the doors to more employees who are disabled.