With Università Bocconi professor Paola Profeta leading the project, The Dondena Center and the Italian Department for Equal Opportunities have received a grant of nearly €200.000 to study the gender balance on the boards of directors of Italian companies.

            The partner organizations received word of the award from the European Commission on July 24.

            The project, Women Mean Business and Economic Growth—Promoting Gender Balance on Company Boards, will increase the knowledge and understanding of the gender dimension in business leadership and economic growth in Italy. As well, it will promote the exchange of experiences, awareness of the importance of the selection process, and the beneficial effects of female leadership for economic growth and business.

            “Professor Profeta is increasingly the face of gender equity study in Italy and a major player in the European commitment to research and policy in such areas,” said Dondena director Ross Macmillan.  “It is a privilege to have Dondena partner with her on this project.”

            Women are underrepresented in economic decision-making throughout Europe but Italy ranks among the worst performers, with wide gender gaps in employment, wages, and careers. The Italian female employment rate is only 46.5% (and just 30.6% in the southern regions of the country), the maternal employment rate is among the lowest in OECD countries even though fertility is low, and women are highly represented in temporary jobs.

            “These statistics stand in stark contrast to educational achievement, where Italian women have seen higher attainment and greater enrollment in higher education at least since 2010,” Profeta said. “In 2010, Italy ranked among the lowest in terms of women on boards of major companies, ahead of only Portugal.”

            Despite this not-very-optimistic situation, Italy is experiencing a significant revolution in female leadership. A recent law, the bi-partisan 120/2011 or Golfo-Mosca law, mandates increased representation of females on boards of publicly-listed and state-owned companies. It also requires that boards (executives and non-executives) of publicly-listed companies and state-owned companies have at least 33% of either gender by 2015 and sets a target of 20% for the transition period.

            The grant provides funding to analyze the current situation of female representation on company boards, the professional backgrounds of women on boards, and the effects of Italy’s new law on the quality of boards, organizations, and the macroeconomy overall. This new research will shed light on the link between the selection process for those serving on boards and female leadership, using theoretical studies and an experimental approach.


For more information about Paola Profeta, click here.

For more information about The Dondena Centre, click here.















Last updated 20 July 2015 - 14:41:02