Gender Mainstreaming



The Team




[ European Commission, DG V ]

© Sept 2001

European Database: Women in Decision-Making

Gender Mainstreaming Strategies in Italy

1. Action Plans for Gender Mainstreaming

Did national, regional and/or local governments in your country launch a plan aiming to implement equal opportunities for women and men in all fields of policy while at the same time ensuring that persisting gender gaps are being addressed by positive action?

If so, please indicate:

Official name of plan in original language Direttiva Prodi- Finocchiaro, Piano d'azione nazionale "Azioni volte a promuovere l'attribuzione di poteri e responsabilitą alle donne a riconoscere e garantire libertą di scelte e qualitą sociale a uomini e donne" (National Action Plan: "Actions to promote women's empowerment and to recognise and ensure freedom of choice and a better quality of social living for women and men")
Date when plan was presented and launched The plan was approved the 7th of March 1997.
Its application had a further implementation and was reinforced as a consequence of the approbation of the Treaty of Amsterdam. See, for instance, the approval by the Council of Ministers, Equal Opportunities Department, of the "Guidelines for the evaluation of strategic impact on equal opportunities actions (V.I.S.P.O.)", in June 1999 (Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, Dipartimento Pari Opportunitą, linee Guida per l' "Attuazione del principio di pari opportunitą per uomini e donne e valutazione dell'impatto equitativo di genere nella programmazione operativa, 2000-2006, V.I.S.P.O.: Valutazione Impatto Strategico Pari Opportunitą, giugno 1999); The general objective of the document is the improvement of the life condition and independence of women as well as a better evaluation of the female resources. In consequence of the V.I.S.P.O., the Council of Ministers, Equal Opportunities Department, also approved the Guidelines for preparing and evaluating the regional integrative programme in relation with the principle of equal opportunities between women and men. The document have the aim to facilitate the realisation of the mainstreaming in the new programming period of Structural Funds and to support it on the transition from the strategies to the concrete measures and, so, it wanted to assure a real gender-equity not only with reference to the access but also and above-all in the results. (Consiglio dei Ministri, Dipartimento Pari Opportunitą, Linee Guida per la redazione e la valutazione dei Complementi di Programmazione in relazione al principio di pari opportunitą fra uomini e donne, Fondi Strutturali 2000-2006).
More, in application of the mainstreaming, the role of the Equal Opportunity department was strengthen in different seats of social negotiation as, for instance, in the "Masterplan", a pluriennal plan for Education and Training in Italy approved by the Government, or in the programming process for the European Found (2000-2006).
Also, other interesting positive actions have been carried out by the Department for Equal Opportunity in the public administration: i.e., the constitution of a work-group, formed by representatives from 16 Ministries with the aim to analyse their internal gender composition. In order to create a strategy to improve the female position inside the institutions, three groups have been identified: the good practises group; the glass-ceiling group and the male group. (Empowerment in Public Administration Project, 1999).
Essential objectives and features The main objective and feature of the national action plan are related with:
  1. Empowerment
  2. Mainstreaming a gender perspective into government policies
  3. Statistical analysis and impact evaluation
  4. Disseminate gender-sensitive culture in education
  5. Employment and job-creation policies
  6. Women's skills and entrepreneurship
  7. Policies to re-organise the use of time, working hours and the organisations of work-strategic objective
  8. Health protection and disease prevention
  9. Prevention and repression of violence
  10. International relations and co-operation The plan is addressed to all members of the Government and states that all Cabinet Ministers will pursued its objective; it also is addressed at the different local governments in binding them to purse its aims trough autonomous initiatives.
    As an example of official adoption of the national plan by a regional government, see the Act 919 (17/6/1998) of the Regional Council of Emilia Romagna that is also addressed to local administrations as the municipalities.
Quantitative goals and timetables The plan does not contains quantitative goals and timetables: it propose guidelines to develop in all the areas and sectors as in application of the mainstreaming principle.
Allocated budget The plan does not provide for a proper budget; all actions and initiatives are financed by different sources and acts such as the annual Financial Law of the State, the Law 215/92 on Female Entrepreneurship, the Law 125\91 on Positive Actions, the Law 53/00 on Parental Leaves etc.
Other sources of financing are represented by Structural Funds and other budget lines of the European Union.

2. Getting ready for Gender Mainstreaming

Are national, regional and local governments or other key-players currently preparing the ground for implementing gender mainstreaming?

If you see indications in your country, please elaborate.


Awareness raising events and publications by governments, equality infrastructures, women's NGOs, trade unions etc. Several events have been organised at different level - national, regional, local - by governments and some other key players like NGO.
Some of the most important are as follows:

  • Italian Council of Ministers-Equal Opportunities Department, "The approach of gender and the action of mainstreaming. Policies of time sustainable development, urban quality", Rome, 19-20 February 2001.
  • National Council of Researches, 3rd Annual Conference on the role of women in scientific field "Attraverso il cristallo: proposte per le Pari Opportunitą nella scienza", Rome, 2 April 2001.
  • Equal Opportunities Department, Equal Opportunities Commission, "Lavorare e vivere con pari opportunitą" (Working and Living in an Equal Opportunities Perspective), Naples, 28-29 January 2000.
  • Global Forum on ITC - Naples, 16-17-18 March 2001 (in each different panel an equal opportunities perspective was taken into consideration, both in the preparatory work and in structuring issues).
  • Equal Opportunities Department, Equal Opportunities Commission, Meeting: "L'impatto di genere nei bilanci pubblici" (Gender auditing in Public Institution), Rome, 15-16 September 2000.
  • National Awarness Campaign "Pari e di pił" ("Equal and more"), meetings were organised with exponent of institution and representatives from the main political parties. During the campaign a kit for woman candidates, a spot and a web site ( were realised (winter 2000-spring 2001).
  • National Awareness Campaign targeted at students, realised through meetings and conferences aimed at sensitise young generation on gender issues. So far, 26 University are already involved (winter 2000-spring 2001).
  • Italian Women Caucus (NGO), National meeting "Un bilancio: le donne della societą civile incontrano le donne delle istituzioni" (A balance: women from society meet women from institution), Rome, 23 March 2001.
  • Quaderni Internazionali di vita italiana, Donne 2000 (Actions, obstacles, things still to realise - 5 years after the Beijing Conference ), Rome, Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, 2000.
  • Figlie di Minerva (Women and scientific research), edited by Rossella Palomba, Milano Angeli, 2000.
  • Commissione Nazionale per la Paritą e le Pari Opportunitą tra Uomo e Donna:
    • Competitivitą aziendale e pari opportunitą. Casi di "buone pratiche" (Firm competitiveness and equal opportunities - best practises), n. 24, 1999.
    • Pubblica Amministrazione: Riforme e vita quotidiana (Public administration: reforms and everyday life), n. 21, 1999.
  • CNEL, Gruppo di lavoro permanente Donne e Sviluppo, Le donne nei governi locali: leadership e percorsi decisionali (Women in local government: leadership and decision-making), Rome 2000.
  • CNEL, Gruppo di lavoro permanente Donne e Sviluppo, La presenza femminile in posizioni decisionali nelle medie e grandi imprese e nelle amministrazioni comunali (Women in decisional position in medium and big enterprises and in local administrations), Rome 2000.
  • CNEL, Gruppo di lavoro permanente Donne e Sviluppo, Primo rapporto sul Ruolo delle donne nello sviluppo socio-economico (First report on the role of women in the economic development), Rome 1999.
  • CNEL, Gruppo di lavoro permanente Donne e Sviluppo, La presenza femminile in posizioni decisionali (Women in decision-making positions), Rome 1998.
  • Consiglio regionale della Toscana, Commissione Regionale Pari Opportunitą donna-uomo, Tre anni di attivitą della Commissione Pari Opportunitą, Firenze, 1999 (Initiatives to enforce women's presence in political and social decision-making positions in Toscana Region).
  • Centro per le Pari Opportunitą, Regione Umbria, Donne e processi decisionali- Atti del Convegno: La rappresentanza delle donne nelle istituzioni, (Women and decision-making; representation of women in institution) Perugia 24 September 1996.
  • Scuola di Politica Hannah Arend, Associazione Orlando di Bologna, Donne nella sfera pubblica. Un catalogo delle "buone pratiche" (Women in the public sphere. A catalogue of good practices) edited by P. Vinay and M.G. Ruggerini, Pitagora Editrice, Bologna 2000.
  • Scuola di Politica Hannah Arendt, Associazione Orlando di Bologna, Antigone nella cittą: emozioni e politica, (Antigone in the city: feelings and politics), Bologna, Pitagora Editrice, 2000.
  • Emily, Come eleggere pił donne in Italia, (How to elect more women in Italy) Roma, Reset, 1999.
Training targeted at various actors organised by governments, equality infrastructures etc. Council of Ministers, Equal Opportunities Department "Per una cultura dello stare insieme di uomini e di donne nei luoghi del governo dei beni comuni" National Seminar, Todi 7-8 November 1998 (For a common culture of men and women in the decision-making positions).

In Italy, form the mid-'90s, various schools were created, the so-called 'Scuole di politica' (Politics schools) at local level . They were explicitly addressed to women and, even if with different characteristic, they had the common aim to outline the gender difference as a relevant perspective in the political arena, both inside and outside the institution. They developed a training activity, especially by organising Seminars and were founded by local administration and the 5th Programme of Action. Among these school:

  • Scuola di Politica Hannah Arendt, promoted by 'Associazione Orlando di Bologna', organising courses, meetings, conferences especially targeted at young girls to consider the role of women in the public sphere. (1997-2000).
  • Scuola di Politica delle donne di Venezia e Mestre sponsored by the Councillor's Office for the cultures of difference of the Municipality. (1998-2000).
  • Emily in Italy, experience that comes from the American and English, it intends to promote and consolidate women participation in the political arena. (1997-2001).
  • "Politiche di cittadinanza e democrazia di genere": specialisation course promoted by the University of Padova on citizenship policies and gender democracy (1998-2000).
Research and study
  • Aidda (Associazione Imprenditrici e Donne Dirigenti d'Azienda), Fondazione Censis, Primo Rapporto donna e impresa 2000 (First report on Women and Enterprises), Milan 2001.

  • Assessorato Formazione, Lavoro, Pari Opportunitą- Regione Emilia Romagna, Cittadine in Europa. Buone prassi nelle amministrazioni locali, (Women citizen in Europe. Good practices in local government), Bologna 2000.

  • "European Network of best practices to promote equal opportunities" -
    definitive address: -
    provisional address:

  • Fondazione Bellisario, Oltre il tetto di cristallo. Donne e carriera: la scalata difficile (Over the glass-ceiling. Women and carriers: a difficult climbing), Rome Isfol 2000.
  • Fondazione Bellisario, Le Protagoniste: Donna, cominicazione, tecnologia, (The protagonists: Woman, communication, technology) May 2000.

  • Cgil, Cisl, Uil, Women and Trade Unions (Research on women representatives realised by the main Italian Trade Unions), Rome 1998.

3. Gender mainstreaming targeted explicitly at women in decision-making

Besides getting an overview of the broad-based approaches to gender mainstreaming it is important to track information that is particularly relevant to current and future aims of the WID project. The following points reach beyond women's participation in the political arena. Please try to cover them as far as possible considering questions such as:

· Are the relevant strategies including timetables and quantitative goals?

· What are the concrete measures to reach them?
· Who are the major players to take action?
· What are the relevant monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to be applied?

Tackling gender gaps in decision-making - in both the political arena and in economic and cultural life - as priority in the (already mentioned eventually existing) national action plan for gender mainstreaming. The national plan of action mentions among its strategic objectives:
  1. Empowerment
    Create conditions for a wide-spread presence of women in decision-making fora dealing with matters of high relevance to the life of community
    (Action: 1.1. Ensure a significant presence of women in government-appointed bodies and in all policy-making positions of public administration, fully recognising the value of women's expertise and experience
    1.2. Analysis the impact of existing electoral system at the European, national and local levels, on women's representation in elected bodies
    1.3. Analyse the impact of training, education and continuing education systems and curricula on women's access to decision-making positions, in the framework of the reform of public administration suggesting appropriate changes)

  2. Mainstreaming a gender perspective into government policies Strengthen and enhance institutional mechanisms for mainstreaming
    (Action: 2.1. Ensure structure and standing co-ordination in the actions of all govern departments, in order to re-examine provisions, policies and programmes to monitor implementation of the objectives indicated in this directive and to study any innovative proposals.
    2.2. Monitor the implementation of existing equality provisions particularly Act 125 of 10 April 1991 (Positive Actions Law) also in view of assessing whether existing institutional and legal instruments are up to standard; trigger a process of reform, with the contribution of the National Commission for Equality and Equal Opportunities and of the National Committee for Labour and Employment Equality and Equal Opportunities, targeted at building a comprehensive system of mainstreaming implementation programs.)

  3. Statistical analysis and impact evaluation Generate and disseminate gender-disaggregated data and information. Evaluate gender-equality impact of government policies

  4. Disseminate gender-sensitive culture in education
    Integrate women's innovative knowledge into proposals to reform the school system, universities, and teaching approaches; promote cultural understanding and studies on gender difference and learning processes that acknowledge gender difference.

  5. Employment and job-creation policies
    Support innovation-focused production structures; invest in sectors related to improved quality of life, education, culture, environmental protection and the protection of urban and local sustainable development patterns.

  6. Women's skills and entrepreneurship
    Promote new development by valuing the innovative potential represented by women's skills and entrepreneurship.
    All the objective are completed by relative actions (some examples are mentioned above), even if no timetables neither quantitative goals are foreseen.
Vertical desegregation of the labour market (i.e. enhancing women's access to senior management and decision-making levels) as a priority among measures described under pillar 4 of your country's National Action Plan for Employment (NAP)'. Italian NAP 2000 in the overview contains a very generic reference to vertical desegregation mentioning "plans to further the positive actions aimed at extending the role of women in the highest level of the labour market".
As for the pillar 4, after observing that "the level of participation in the labour market and the strength gained in top hierarchical position show an improvement of the condition of women and a progressive narrowing of the differentials that, in any event, still remain between men and women", focuses the attention on measures to increase the women participation in the labour market because of the high rate of women unemployed especially in the Southern Italy.
On the other hand, measures are taken to promote new female entrepreneurship.
Strategies and measures targeted at vertical desegregation in the Community Support Frameworks and Operational Programmes for the new Funding Period (2000-2006) of the European Structural Funds² Specific measures are taken to improve the participation and strengthen the position of the women in the labour market. In order to achieve the global objective, the strategy considers two field of intervention:
  • to bring women into the labour market through specific interventions aimed at removing social and structural conditions that hinder the participation of women in the labour market and the overtaking of the highest level of carriers (training, mentoring, incubators, incentives etc.)
  • to improve the potentiality of the female entrepreneurship.

Among these, specific actions are provided in order to fight the vertical desegregation, such as:
  • promotion of the presence of women in technical and scientific professions with high qualification (training, borse lavoro, contratti di inserimento - special contracts aimed at women job)
  • vocational guidance, training monitoring and support to the development of women's carrier
  • training and information for enterprises, public administration, social partners and other socio-economic actors in order to create a favourable culture to the development of women's carriers
In the programmatic process for the new financing period of the European Structural Funds (2000-2006) the attention is also focused on women in Information Technologies
Gender balance in the Monitoring Committees of the Structural Funds At a national level there are two Monitoring Committees related with objective 1 (Southern Italy) and 3 (Centre-North of Italy)
As for the objective 3:
National Committee supervising Community Support Framework: on 36 members, there are 13 women and 23 men (36,1%).
As for the objective 1:
National Committees supervising Community Support Framework: on 53 members, there are 13 women, 40 man.
Each region is constituting or have already constitute Regional Monitoring Committees. The Community Support Frameworks statues that in each Committee the central or regional authorities for the Equal Opportunities policies have to be present.
However, data on gender composition of the regional committees are not available. An analysis is being carried out by the CNEL (National Council of Labour and Economics). The results will likely be published next Autumn.

'NAPs can be found on the Europa Server at the website of the DG Employment & Social Affairs ( Search for European Employment Strategy.
²In most Member States these can be obtained from the Ministry for Economic Affairs (ERDF), the Ministry of Labour (ESF) and the Ministry for Agriculture (EAGGF).

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