Inclusion needs politics and the economy – Looking back at the 6th DisAbility Confidence Day

On November 23, 2021, held in the Julius-Raab Hall of the Chamber of Commerce, Austrian companies were able to point the way for more equal opportunities in society. Although the annual event of the myAbility Economic Forum had to take place digitally again that year, this did not reduce the topicality and excitement of the evening's question "Is Social the new Green?"


Inclusion as an EU political and economic task

"In what society do you want to live in?" This question was answered in the opening video of the event by a variety of protagonists, including ORF journalist Ulla Kramar-Schmid, diverse young people and the Federal President Alexander van der Bellen. Inclusion and equal opportunities, needless to say, was the main focus of attention.


The subsequent words of welcome from the hostess, Carmen Goby - Vice President of the Austrian Economic Chamber - made it clear that political framework conditions are important for the economy and companies so that inclusion can finally become a reality. Katrin Langensiepen, the first female EU parliamentarian with a visible disability, was then allowed to start the political part of the DCD 2021 with a brilliant keynote.



"Only a few people with disabilities work in management positions and in politics. It's not a perk meant to lure us, it's a human right." Katrin Langensiepen, Member of the EU Parliament.

The panel discussion, moderated by Vera Schmidt (ORF) and Miriam Labus (ORF), dealt with the following two important topics, namely, "EU taxonomy" and the "role of companies" in an inclusive society.

Gregor Demblin draws parallels between the development of social sustainability and green sustainability 15 years ago -- today we have got carbon pricing. He hopes that in the near future the EU will define guidelines that are helpful for measuring the social impact of companies. Currently, everyone is eagerly looking at Brussels, because at the beginning of December the European Commission will present an action plan regarding the social economy. Will this urge companies to push ahead with the topic of DisAbility Inclusion? Which KPIs will have to be defined and how will a possible pricing of social impact look like?

"Social justice is the cement that holds the EU together", Katrin Langensiepen is convinced.

“We need a critical society engaging diversity and inclusion. American companies got the hang of it quicker than we did.”


Incredible added value for company culture

Everyone on the podium agreed that inclusive teams bring an enormous boost to corporate culture. Christine Catasta appeals to company leaders to embark on the journey to more inclusion since only these companies will be among the most successful ones in the future. Sharing one of her experiences, "... the values ​​in the company have increased incredibly. There was teamwork; support of one another."


Everyone benefits from accessibility

Robert Zadrazil from UniCredit Bank Austria, which has been dealing holistically with the topic of ESG for quite some time, confirms that social sustainability is not a hype. All customers benefit from investments made in accessibility and easy access to the bank’s financial services, which was particularly evident during the COVID-19 crisis.

Participants from 130 different companies took part online, of which 80 percent were from Austria. The importance of social sustainability for companies was confirmed by the answers given to this question: What do you think about social sustainability?


True inclusion requires strategy

Every company can introduce the topic of inclusion in different departments: with HR, the managers or simply in conversations. "However, raising awareness of the topic takes time", says Fides Raffel, head of training at myAbility. "But it is absolutely essential for cultural change."

With this in mind, myAbility has been working for some time now on a digital e-learning platform, where employees can engage with the topic of awareness and sensitization in companies through interactive formats, such as videos and simulated conversations. Watch a short preview of this


The last part of the DCD 2021 ended with a pleasant surprise sharing very private insights from prominent board members on the subject of disability. Find out how Karl-Heinz Hofbauer (Takeda), Barbara Redlein (PwC), Martin Graf (Energie Steiermark) and Réne Knapp (Uniqa) answer the question, whether they have ever parked in an accessible parking space.



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