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Envera celebrates 8M with the talent of women with disabilities as a protagonist

  • Celebrates the conference 'Women, employment and disability, a great challenge' in Malaga
  • Inaugurated by the Second Vice-President of the Diputación de Málaga
  • With executives from "leading" companies such as Carrefour, Grupo Social ONCE, Iberia Express, the Regional Government of Andalusia and Sacyr.

Malaga | March 8, 2023

On the occasion of International Women's Day (8M), Envera - an organization that has been working for more than 45 years for the social and labor inclusion of people with disabilities - held in Malaga the conference 'Women, employment and disability, a great challenge', with the participation of managers from large companies and public administration who spoke about inclusion and equality as essential factors for the competitiveness of their organizations, with special emphasis on the talent of professionals with disabilities as part of their strategic capital.

According to the Observatory on Disability and the Labor Market of the ONCE Foundation - ODISMET (2021), women in this situation suffer 66.7% unemployment and inactivity compared to 23.3% of non-disabled people of working age, and a wage gap of more than 8,000 euros.

This situation also has a direct effect of economic dependence, lack of freedom, risk of poverty and exclusion for thousands of women, invisible among the invisible, vulnerable among the vulnerable, in addition to the cost in public resources that all this implies, resources that are supported by everyone's taxes. Public money that could be used to invest in investment and innovation to achieve a better future for all, beyond solving an inequality that is a labor and human unreason.

The event, held this Tuesday at the Center for Social Innovation La Noria, was inaugurated by the second vice president of the Provincial Council of Malaga, Natacha Rivas, and by the deputy mayor and councilor of the Area of Social Rights, Equality, Accessibility, Inclusive Policies and Housing of the City of Malaga, Francisco Pomares.

María José López, Envera employee

María José López, a professional with a disability and head of a technological team at Envera, was in charge of introducing the conference through her own experience. At 64 years of age, and after a professional career of 31 years at Envera, where she manages a qualified team of six people, all of them with different physical and sensory abilities, López assures that she has no doubt that disability is a bigger obstacle for companies than gender.

After his speech, the round table discussion 'Success stories. Women, employment and disability, how do companies and administrations address this challenge', moderated by the CEO of Envera, Enrique Grande, with the participation of executives from companies "leaders in their sectors" such as Carrefour, ONCE Social Group, Iberia Express, the Junta de Andalucía and Sacyr.

The vice-president for Equality, Human Resources and Institutional Culture of Grupo Social Once, Patricia Sanz, denounced that the gender wage gap in Spain stands at over 20%, which means that the average annual salary received by women is almost 5,000 euros gross below that of men, a reality that is even more dramatic when these women have some kind of disability, when this difference rises to 8,000 euros gross per year.

Sanz assured that "in Spain, with 4.5 million people with disabilities, only 1 out of every 4 people of working age is working and, of these, less than half are women".

For Carlota Sofía Valverde, regional director of Human Resources at Carrefour, "equal opportunities and non-discrimination are two of the company's pillars". She pointed out the "important role of companies" in making equality effective and called for "women themselves to break down the barriers that they often put up when looking for a job". Only through normalization," she said, "will we be able to break down these prejudices," in which fear and lack of knowledge, in the opinion of all the speakers, are key factors.

For the Corporate Director of Iberia Express, Elena Baíllo, equality and diversity have a clear competitive component for companies: "We want a diverse company because our customers are also diverse. Promoting a culture of equal opportunities not only contributes to making companies better in terms of ethics and values, in their ESG, but also constitutes an investment by helping us to be the diverse company we want, a mirror of our customers' reality".

Elena Baíllo (Iberia Express) and Patricia Martínez (Sacyr)

The airline has 12 % of women with disabilities performing administrative tasks, who, in addition to "excellent performance", contribute "many things that are not tangible", Baíllo points out. Such as the improvement of the feeling of belonging on the part of other employees, the capacity for self-improvement or the good atmosphere in their offices, which makes the company much better in social and business terms.

For its part, Sacyr has launched a specific plan to incorporate women into the company, especially those with intellectual disabilities, at risk of exclusion and victims of gender violence, as revealed by its general manager of People, Patricia Martínez, who also stressed that the equality measures are "endorsed by the management" of the company.

Regarding the role of public administration to eliminate employment and salary gaps, which so harshly affect women with disabilities, Ruth Sarabia, territorial delegate in Malaga of Social Inclusion, Youth, Families and Equality of the Junta de Andalucía, put forward the need for "firm commitment to access to the labor market for people with disabilities and even more so if they are women". A determination of the Andalusian Government that in the last four years has led - in data provided by Sarabia herself - to the insertion of more than 55,000 people with some physical, intellectual or sensory limitation, of which 65 percent are women. "These results -she explained- are the result of three pillars: public procurement, support to companies and the jobs generated through the special employment centers".

Nevertheless, the speakers agree that there is still a long way to go, although the necessary progress is being made so that women with disabilities can take their place in the world with dignity.

Thirty-one years ago, no travel agency wanted to hire María José when she saw her arm paralyzed by the childhood poliomyelitis she suffered, and today, paradoxically, she and her team are the ones who repair the mistakes made by these companies, making it possible for 2.5 million people a year, whose travel reservations are poorly made, to finally be able to travel. Because, as she herself said, "we are people with disabilities, but there are many others who do not have, or are not certified, and are less able like me".

Today, more than 250 women with disabilities work at Envera, demonstrating, as the organization's motto states, that "we can all be the best at something".