Our Disability Day
A webinar for our employees dedicated to the World Day of People with Disabilities with a special guest, as well as various initiatives and an important recognition.
“Transformation towards a sustainable and inclusive society for all”. This is the theme chosen by the United Nations to mark the 2021 Day of People with Disabilities, highlighting how people with disabilities, both as beneficiaries and as agents of change, can quickly chart the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote a more just society for all.
It was precisely on the concept of “person”, even before the disability, that Consuelo Battistelli, IBM’s Diversity Engagement Partner, focused her contribution as Avio Aero’s guest speaker during a webinar that concluded a series of sessions on the theme of inclusion. The series was promoted by Pierfederico Scarpa, Marketing and Sales Vice President and Executive Sponsor of the Employee (ERG) Disability Advocacy Network active within the company.
At IBM, Consuelo is responsible for the design and implementation of internal and external strategic projects on topics such as gender equality, LGBT life, work-life integration, people with disabilities and multiculturalism. She does so not only by using managerial skills acquired over years in the field, but also applying her direct experience. Consuelo is, in fact, a blind person.
“In addressing the issue of disability we cannot but start from what is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, because for the first time in human history psychophysical diversity, with the limits that follow, is considered a condition like any other, worthy of being experienced as such and not as a disease to be treated,” said Consuelo. “This convention is in fact state law in Italy and in many countries around the world and draws a new model of participation based on inclusion: inclusion of the human person who, for this very reason, exercises the rights of full citizenship.”
“While it’s true that the journey of inclusion cannot be separated from the needs of the person with a disability, one of the main risks one can run into is that of homogenization. The needs of people with disabilities are the same as those of people without disabilities – to work, to move around, to have fun – but the conditions are different and require different solutions. Above all, we mustn’t speak of special needs, as these are needs common to all.”
Based on her experience in a large multinational company, one of the first to work on accessibility, Consuelo emphasized the importance of technological progress – hardware and software to make people more independent at work and in their personal lives.
“Great strides have been made since the 2000s when we talked exclusively about the accessibility of Internet sites”, adds Consuelo, “Today, digital technologies have opened up new horizons in accessing cultural and educational content and the fact that they are always available on different channels has facilitated their use. As far as the development of programs and applications is concerned, however, there are still barriers in terms of code and protocol. At IBM, I’m following the MWA (Make Work Accessible) project because mobility is one of the big challenges for inclusion.”
The needs of people with disabilities are the same as those of people without disabilities but the conditions are different and require different solutions, and we mustn’t speak of special needs, as these are needs common to all.
Digital technology, in fact, often hides a dark side that, in the case of inclusion, concerns the digital divide. The digital divide can worsen the condition of people with disabilities unless pathways are structured that are not limited to the development of assistive solutions, but that generate replicable and scalable good practice.
“Having Consuelo Battistelli with us was an exceptional opportunity for sharing among all our colleagues,” said Pierfederico Scarpa. “Our approach is to increase internal awareness through direct experience. Listening to each other to see what we can do better or differently to make our own contribution is the best way to celebrate the anniversary of December 3rd”.
Consuelo Battistelli’s presence – as well as the conversation with Paralympic athletes Silvia De Maria, Raffaele Longo, and Fabio Piscitello, hosted at the Borgaretto plant – offer precious contributions to growing the culture of inclusion within our company.
This anniversary closes a year of important projects at Avio Aero. The session “From School to Autonomy” with which the event came to a close addressed both students with disabilities and trainees of professional health and social care institutes, who were able to go into the company and work on specific projects, measuring themselves within the working context.
For its commitment in this and in other initiatives in favor of inclusion and diversity, Avio Aero was awarded the prestigious “Premio 3 Dicembre” (December 3rd Award) by CDP, the Council for People in Difficulty, which each year identifies individuals and companies that stand out for their commitment to supporting fundamental values such as solidarity, inclusion, and respect for differences.
“We’re really proud that such an important award has been given to our company,” said Carlamaria Tiburtini, I&D Leader and Senior HR Business Partner. “This recognition rewards management’s vision in seeing inclusion as a fundamental component for the business, but above all it awards the commitment of the entire community of Avio Aero employees who have embarked upon a heartfelt and participatory cultural journey.”
For Consuelo Battistelli – as for all of us – the hope is that in a very near future, it will no longer be necessary to celebrate a date on the calendar. The hope is instead that inclusive behaviors will be an asset for all to share.