GIOVENTU » Italy has one of the lowest female employment rates in Europe

Italy has one of the lowest female employment rates in Europe

It’s tough to be a woman in Italy, as the country has one of the lowest female employment rates in Europe, second only to Greece. It also has one of the lowest birth rates and only 54 percent of women return to work after having a child, one of the possible reasons being that childcare in Italy is mostly undertaken by grandparents because the state doesn’t help much.

The World Economic Forum stated that Just 31 percent of Italy's last parliament was female, putting it below Ecuador, Angola and Belarus to name but a few. Even less of the cabinet was made up of women: 28 percent, and they were predominantly in the health and education sectors. Italy has never had a female prime minister or president.

in 2017 only, 16 percent of decision-making bodies were made up of women, says Istat. Just under 34 percent of board members on listed companies were female, and this was after Italy introduced a quota that requires boards to include women at least by 33 percent.

Women weighing in on the country’s most prominent newspapers and having regular political columns are exceptions to the rule. To name the most famous there is Milena Gabanelli, an investigative journalist, who sometimes writes for Corriere della Sera and Nadia Urbinati who writes for La Repubblica. There are also some important women on television hosting interviews or current affairs programs: Lucia Annunziata, Bianca Berlinguer, and Lilli Gruber. 

Only two women led parties running the latest elections: Emma Bonino, a former European commissioner whose More Europe party failed to get enough seats to enter Parliament, and Giorgia Meloni, whose far-right Brothers of Italy party, did get enough votes to enter. Another prominent woman in Italian politics is Laura Boldrini, the speaker of the Lower House in the last legislation. 

On the occasion of International Women's Day, some data on women’s situation in Italy were released.

According to the OECD Fewer than half of working-age Italian women are in employment. Women who work are more likely to be better educated and in higher-paying jobs. Even though Italy's pay gap is a little over 5 percent, lower than any other EU country except Romania, according to Eurostat, this is not as good as it seems because it accounts for a small portion of working women who are highly educated.

What is more, the World Economic Forum's latest report on the global gender gap reported that around 62 percent of Italian women’s work each day is unpaid, compared to 30 percent for Italian men. They are also more likely to be unemployed or work part-time.

Another contradiction is that, according to the OECD, more than half of all Italians getting a degree are women (Nearly 59 percent of bachelor's graduates), while women make up just over 52 percent of PhD graduates.


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