Exploring inclusivity and seeking employment with a visual impairment

Posted: Wednesday 01 September 2021
Sam Latif portrait

A leader in accessibility and inclusion in the workplace, for people living with a disability, will join us for a one-off event this month to discuss progress being made and how to seek employment as a visually impaired person.

Sumaira Latif, who is Procter and Gamble’s Company Accessibility Leader in the UK, was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a rare genetic condition.

She could never see much and what she could see was narrow and blurry. Then, at the age of 16, she could suddenly no longer read anything.

Sumaira will join us on Monday 13 September to talk more about the trials, tribulations and successes she has experienced in her role, as well as provide advice on seeking employment as a visually impaired person.

Speaking to Forbes in 2019, she said: “My aspiration always has been to lead what I thought I wanted: a ‘normal’ life. But to do normal things were incredibly difficult as a young blind person. Simple things like reading a book, crossing a road, being able to see the latest fashion or film was impossible to do. I focused on the few big things which were important like how to get through university; how I could work with others to become as independent and capable as possible for the things which really mattered like finding a job.”

Sumaira’s determination has led her to the position she’s in today, helping Procter and Gamble (P&G) rethink its entire approach to inclusivity. She is also the company’s first blind, female British Asian associate director.

Her personal struggles with products fuelled her desire to fix problems for people with disabilities, such as differentiating between different face creams, or which bottle was her shampoo or her conditioner.

In 2019, thanks to Sumaira’s work the company implemented tactile stripes for shampoo and circles for conditioner on a range of their bottles, allowing people to be able to differentiate the difference by touch.

She has also been instrumental in helping senior staff to understand issues experiences by those with disabilities, by introducing immersive experiences so they can see first-hand what it is like to use the products with a disability.

P&G recently received a top score of 100% on the disability equality index (DEI) and is now on the list of the 2021 Best Places to Work for people with disabilities.

Register to join Sumaira on Monday 13 September at 7pm.