Incapacity:IN and the American Affiliation of Individuals with Disabilities Say Nasdaq’s New Board Variety Reporting Rule Is a Missed Alternative for Individuals with Disabilities
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE) – Disability: IN, the global organization that advocates disability inclusion and equality in business, and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) are deeply disappointed that the SEC has decided Today the Nasdaq refused to include people with disabilities in a proposed rule, Release No. 34-90574, requiring US-listed companies to meet certain diversity goals and to report on the composition of their boards of directors. Disability: IN believes that Nasdaq missed an important opportunity to show American companies that people with disabilities are important in diversity metrics and that disability disclosure is a key investor issue.
Disability: IN, the American Association of People with Disabilities, institutional investors and more than 200 leading civil rights organizations are strongly committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the proposed regulation, which in its current form includes women, racial and ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ +.
“The disability community comprises 1.3 billion people worldwide, including nearly 33 million working-age Americans, and should be included in business diversity initiatives and in the national discussion on diversity and equality. We have repeatedly engaged Nasdaq and the SEC to ensure that people with disabilities are a marginalized minority group, similar to women, racial and ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ +. While these populations were rightly considered, people with disabilities were wrongly excluded, ”said Ted Kennedy, Jr., co-chair of the Disability Equality Index, a joint initiative of Disability: IN and AAPD. “By leaving out people with disabilities, Nasdaq is sending the message to American companies that people with disabilities are not included in diversity metrics – in stark contrast to the growing number of civil rights organizations, CEOs, corporations, institutional investors and shareholders who saying this is important. ”
In February, Disability: IN and AAPD wrote to the SEC and Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman regarding the omission of people with disabilities in their diversity proposal for the board of directors. New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli also filed a letter with the SEC. Disability: IN and AAPD filed a subsequent letter with the SEC detailing what there is economic evidence, investor interests, corporate culture benefits, similar existing regulations, and ease of compliance for including people with disabilities in the definition. The letter focuses heavily on how engaging helps investors.
In addition, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 civil and human rights organizations, wrote a letter to the SEC, and Nasdaq received a joint letter from the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, National Veteran-Owned Business Association, US Black Chamber, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Women Impacting Public Policy, and Out & Equal for expressing support for disability inclusion in the Nasdaq initiative.
“In July we celebrated the 31st stereotype – that leads to extreme economic and social inequality,” said Jill Houghton, president and CEO of Disability: IN. “The ADA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that severely restricts one or more important life activities for a person. It is precisely these experiences that make people with disabilities an indispensable asset for company management boards: Management boards govern better when members can contribute their diverse skills and perspectives. Indeed, disability is the very definition of diversity as it does not discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, or nationality. ”
More than 65 CEOs have signed the Disability: IN CEO Letter on Disability Inclusion, citing independent analysis from an Accenture report, “Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage,” that companies that involve people with disabilities are more profitable and long term value. Over a four-year period, these companies achieved 28% higher sales, twice as much net income and 30% higher profit margins, and a higher total return for shareholders.
Disability: IN will continue to work with Nasdaq, the SEC, and other exchanges and organizations on future initiatives that have a positive impact on board diversity. Advocating the one billion people with disabilities, along with 280 corporate partners and many allies, is at the heart of the organization’s goal to build a global inclusive economy.
About disability: IN®
Disability: IN is a global organization that advocates the inclusion of disabilities and equality in business. More than 280 companies trust Disability: IN to enable and achieve disability inclusion across their organization and in the broader corporate mainstream. Through the world’s most comprehensive disability inclusion benchmarking; world class conferences and programs; and expert advice and commitment, Disability: IN works with leading companies to achieve long-term business and social impact. Visit us at handicapin.org/AreYouIN #AreYouIN
About the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
AAPD is an enabler, link and catalyst for change that increases the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As the national disability rights organization, AAPD advocates full civil rights for the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities. Learn more at aapd.com.