TIME REQUIRED30 mins
TEAM SIZE5 or more
GOOD FORSafe and empathetic work environments
This activity will help people recognise the privileges they do and don’t have in their lives and generate discussion around privilege from diverse points of view.
If you don’t have a lived experience of disability, it can be hard to understand how far reaching its effects are.
We recommend you have a good facilitator for this activity and read each step carefully before you run it.
What you’ll need
For this activity, you’ll need to select 20 privilege statements from the list at the end of this page.
Fake currency totalling $4400.
You must give each group the same set of statements.
If you have large groups of 6 or more, trim each set of statements into separate slips of paper, so it’s easier to share around the table.
If your team is working remotely, you’ll need to set up an online tool.
When you choose a tool, think if anyone in your team has access requirements and if they’ll be able to easily use it.
Some free tools you can use are:
But this is just a list of examples. There are a lot of tools.
Scheduling the session
Set up your meeting at a time where you’ll get the best results.
This means think about the diverse needs of each of your team members.
Think of things like this:
- Do some people work better earlier or later in the day?
- Does anyone have kids or caring responsibilities that mean they need to start late or leave early?
- Is there a time to avoid due to other work commitments?
How to run the activity
This is a rough schedule of how you can run the session.
Acknowledge country (20 seconds)
Always acknowledge the traditional owners before you start.
It shows your respect for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.
Confirm pronouns (20 seconds)
Go around the room and have everyone confirm their pronouns. Or, ask everyone to display them either in their screen name or written down on a piece of paper.
This helps support transgender and gender diverse people and instil empathy for diverse people in your teams’ minds.
Confirm access requirements (20 seconds)
Ask everyone to let you know if they have any access requirements to take part in this activity.
Remember, it’s up to them to share information about themselves to you or the group.
Set the scene (2 minutes)
Explain that the purpose of this activity is for everyone to think about the kinds of privilege they have.
Divide everyone into small groups or if you’re a very small team, people can be on their own.
This activity works best with people divided into multiple teams of 5 or more.
Distribute the cards (5 minutes)
Provide each group with their set of the 20 statements.
Explain that the statements relate to life with disability.
Here’s what you could say:
“Some of the statements could apply to gender, race, or other intersectional issues – but for this exercise we’re going to think only through the lens of disability.”
Give everyone time to sort through the statements and discuss them amongst themselves.
Encourage them to look at each privilege in turn and to think about what it would be like to live without it.
Distribute the currency (5 minutes)
Divide the $4400 up between the groups.
Give each group a different amount of money. The amounts do not have to be even e.g. $750.
When distributing the money, the amounts should remain secret until after you explain the rules.
Explain the rules and allow discussion (15 minutes)
Explain to everyone that each privilege costs $200 to buy.
They need to decide in their group which privileges to buy.
They have 15 minutes to decide.
It’s not against the rules for groups to collaborate, but don’t suggest collaboration unless a group raises it themselves.
If someone asks if they can share funds with another group, reply:
“Each privilege costs $200 and you have to decide which ones to buy. Those are the only rules.”
Whole group discussion (10 minutes)
Once everyone has decided on the privileges their group would buy, have them nominate a speaker.
Each group’s speaker will provide a summary of their experience to the room. They don’t need to say what they bought. Ask them to focus on the thinking process behind their decisions.
During this process, the groups will realise you’ve given them all different amounts of money.
The reveal (2 minutes)
Once everyone has discussed their decisions, reveal if everyone had worked together they could have purchased every privilege and still had money left over.
Discuss as a team how that makes everyone feel and what are good traits of collaboration and team work are.
Who we consulted with to write this
We consulted with staff networks to check the language in this tool is appropriate and respectful.
For this tool, we consulted with:
- Autism Success Network
- Enablers Network
Privilege statements for the activity
You can also download these as:
I can decide spontaneously to go to a movie, lecture, conference, concert, worship service, bar, restaurant, amusement park, etc
I can drive or navigate public transport options without difficulty
I can sit anywhere I want when I go to an event, restaurant, or religious service
I can attend social events without worrying if I will be able to enter the building or use the facilities
If I am in the company of people that make me uncomfortable, I can easily move elsewhere
I can easily arrange to be in the company of people like me
When asking to speak to a person in charge, I will be speaking to someone like me
People like me are seen as having lives worth living
I don’t have to worry about being sent to an institution or having my legal and political rights taken away when I would otherwise be a legal adult
I can choose a place of worship based on their worship style or beliefs, instead of whether services are interpreted for me or the building is accessible
If I make a mistake, other people won’t use it against all other people like me
People believe me when I say that I can do one thing but not another thing
The things that I can do are not used as evidence against me when discussing how my brain or body works
I can easily find accommodation that is accessible for me
I can buy a home that is accessible and adaptable without looking for it specifically
My entire neighborhood is accessible to me
If I become street homeless, I can go into any shelter or housing services agency, and expect their building and services to be accessible to me
When I go shopping alone, I can reach and obtain all the items I need, cashiers will see me and I can easily see and use credit card payment machines
When shopping for clothes I don’t worry about finding a dressing room I can use
People in customer service don’t ignore me or become nervous because of how I communicate and will be able to communicate directly with me in the way that I normally communicate
The noise and strobes of fire alarms pose no physical or mental danger to me
If I were in a building on fire, I could get out on my own
Public safety information, like traffic signs, curb cuts, maps, detour notices, or other announcements are accessible to me
When dining at a restaurant, I can easily read / access the menu
When ordering food at a restaurant, I can communicate my choices easily with the wait staff and know they understand me
When eating at a restaurant I know the food will be served in a way that is easy for me to eat
If I’m not participating in an activity or program it’s assumed this is my choice and not because it’s inaccessible to me
I can see people like me widely and accurately represented in film and television
I was raised without messages that my body or brain is inferior and needs to be “fixed”
At school I was given curricular material that represented people like me as role models
When studying, most teachers and professors like me
When studying, if people like me have been discriminated against in history I will learn about it
I am politically represented by people like me
Other people automatically respect, validate, and understand my form of communicating
The ways that I communicate, move, express my emotions, react to stress, and get through my day are considered the standard way of life
I am not told to adjust my behaviour or mannerisms to be ‘fit in’
I don’t have to carry a card, tag, or item that explains my movements, sounds, or way of communicating
I can talk about my interests for a long time without people treating it as a symptom
I can decide if, and when, I have children
If I decide not to have children, no one will assume that my brain or body must be the reason why
If I do have children, people won’t question whether it was responsible or ethical to do so
My children will also not be taken away from me by child protective services simply because of how my brain or body works
I can choose to share my life with someone without it being seen as a disadvantage to them
If I am rejected by a potential intimate partner, I know the reason was not because of how my brain or body works
No one will tell me that I am incapable of relating to or forming relationships with other people because of how my brain or body works
People assume that I can have and express romantic and sexual desire in potential intimate partners
If I am LGBTI+, I won’t be told that my sexual orientation or gender identity are symptoms of how my brain works
I can take a job without having someone suspect I got my job because of pro-disability employment practices
If I am fired, not given a raise, or not hired, I do not have to question whether it had anything to do with my brain or body
People are not discouraged from hiring me because of the way my brain or body works
I don’t worry about a job interviewer’s reaction to the way I talk or move, or to my adaptive equipment or service animal
I know that my income can increase based on my performance, and I can seek new and better employment if I choose
If I don’t have a university degree, people won’t assume that it’s solely because of my brain or body
I won’t be late for meetings as a result of mobility barriers
I can reliably expect that most, if not all, bosses, managers, and supervisors I have will be like me
I don’t have to choose between working to earn and save money or keeping my life-sustaining supportive services
I can plan far in advance without worrying about unpredictable pain, disease, or anxiety ruining my plans and costing money to resolve
I can read any content available in any library or bookstore
I never have to notice when a building has no signs in Braille
If I have internet access and want to go on the internet, I can access all materials on any site
I don’t have to rely on strangers to help me bathe or use the toilet, so I don’t have to worry about whether I can trust them or not
I can expect medical professionals to understand how my body works, to answer my questions, and respect my decisions and autonomy
I don’t have to choose between reporting abuse from my support staff and losing services that I need
I can reliably trust whatever researchers and scientists say about people like me, and I won’t feel dehumanized or ignored by their findings
I am able to access treatment with medical professionals who are like me
I don’t have to educate every new doctor or other health care worker about how my brain or body works
I can find therapists who are like me
I am considered the expert on my own memories, experiences, emotions, preferences, and body – not someone else
When someone says that all they want is a “healthy” baby, I know they mean a baby whose brain and body will be like mine
If I need a lawyer, they will be able to communicate directly with me in the way I communicate
I can choose if I want to be part of the fight for disability justice or disability rights (or even whether to think about disability); I don’t have to live it every day if I don’t want to