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Opinion
Tom Harkin and Robert Ludke

Diversity Must Include People with Disabilities

Nasdaq got it part right: Corporate boards should be more inclusive. Now it needs to broaden its thinking.

People with disabilities are better positioned to help solve society’s challenges.

People with disabilities are better positioned to help solve society’s challenges.

Photographer: JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP

The Nasdaq stock exchange is poised to push businesses to a new level of inclusion with its proposal to require all listed companies to have at least two diverse board members, but we are dismayed that it took such a narrow definition of who qualifies. Notably absent are persons with disabilities.

This omission leaves out a segment of individuals who represent more than $8 trillion in purchasing power, not to mention a largely untapped workforce of millions of qualified Americans eager to find competitive, integrated employment. What’s more, research shows that companies that embrace disability employment and inclusion outperform their peers. These companies have 28% higher revenues and are twice as likely to have higher total shareholder returns than those in their peer group.