Work and paid employment has become a central aspect of social identity in our contemporary work societies. The assumed positive aspects of wage labour and employment on individual well-being are hardly questioned. It is instead claimed that work offers the individual a sense of purposefulness, a possibility to contribute to the collective good and a daily structure. Since its late emergence in the 1960s, the disability rights movement has put an emphasis on exclusion from work and employment. Nevertheless, all over the world, people with disabilities still belong to the most marginalised groups in the labour market. Using disability rights monitoring as a method, this paper explores what role the disability rights framework plays in shaping and transforming our present work society. Based on a German context, it is outlined how the international human rights framework has influenced the social policies that support the inclusion of disabled people in work and employment. Including the narratives of disabled people, it is outlined that despite comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, the German labour market remains exclusionary and discriminatory against people with disabilities. Recently introduced measures, however, point to a new direction and aim to create a more equal and just world of work that acknowledges embodied differences and the needs and capabilities of disabled and non-disabled workers.
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