Women and work, the photograph in Italy of the Gender Policies Report


Women and work, the Gender Policies Report in Italy

INAPP President, Sebastiano Fadda: “The situation of women is not improving”.

Employment is growing, but it is not affecting the gender gap. Despite having reached 60.5% in October 2022 (the highest value since 1977), the employment rates between men and women remain distant (69.5% and 51.4% respectively ) with a gender gap of 18%.


The female unemployment rate is 9.2% against 6.8% for men, a gap that increases for young people between the ages of 15 and 18 with rates of 32.8% for girls and 27 ,7% for boys.


This is what emerged from the Gender Policies Report 2022, the publication edited by INAPP (National Institute for the Analysis of Public Policies) which every year photographs gender differences in the world of work.

“Despite the growth – declares Sebastiano Fadda, President of INAPP – the gender gaps in the labor market and the structural criticalities remain unchanged which determine a low female participation. Reduced employment, mainly precarious, part-time and in low-paying or not very strategic sectors. Therefore, the situation of women, although improved in absolute terms, worsens in relative terms.


“If we compare these data with those of 2021, we see that employment rates are growing more for men than for women (+1.7% against +1.4%) and that unemployment is falling greater extent for men (-1.2% against -0.9%). Inactivity decreases for both, but for women only that linked to study and training decreases while that linked to family reasons increases”</ em>.

Part time and strengthened weakness

The data for the first half of 2022 confirm the part-time female specificity as a form of entry into the world of work. Of all the contracts activated for women, 49% are part-time against 26.2% for men. In particular, more than half (51.3%) of women’s permanent contracts are part-time. While typically female is the condition of strengthened weakness, i.e. the presence of two associated critical factors:

  • precarious contractual form
  • part time


If we consider only fixed-term work, which occupies 38% of women’s contracts and 43% of men’s contracts, we note that 64% of the first share is part time and only 32% of the second %. In 2021, the incidence of employed women who work part time is higher than men by about 15 percentage points in Europe and by more than 22 percentage points in Italy.

Even the data on work-life balance show that the Italian labor market is more rigid than the European average. Women, both in Europe and in Italy, enjoy less flexibility than men. A difficulty that mainly affects female graduates, so these indicators are above the EU average.


But above all, female workers are less involved in organizing working hours: in Italy in 76% of cases it is the employer alone who decides the time to enter and leave work, against an EU average of 57%, compared to male values of 68% and 62% respectively.

The Gender Policies Report also captures and provides concrete examples of a new phenomenon. A new form of discrimination, namely the one linked to the use of algorithms by digital platforms. Instruments, in fact, which are affected by the system of meanings, ideas and judgments and with them the stereotypes and prejudices of those who conceived and built them. It follows that in the digital job market exactly the discriminatory attitudes found in traditional jobs are reproduced.


“The minds that program the algorithms are no different from those who normally choose to hire, promote, pay more, fire and so on. – highlighted Fadda – The algorithmic discrimination can therefore equally act and, implicitly, produce gender discriminatory conduct in the workplace. The need to deepen the link between the digital society and discrimination, in its obvious gender connotations, is imperative”.


Finally, the report analyzes the characteristics of domestic work, a working sector in constant growth and which currently has around 2 million households as employers of care of elderly or sick people (about 74% of demand). The data show a clear prevalence of the female component among the employed, 60% foreign, with a progressively increasing average age between 45 and 59 years.


This is a sector characterized by a large proportion of undeclared work. It is estimated that seven out of ten workers (68.3%) do not have any contractual formalities. Furthermore, 34.3% of gray work is recorded, a form of work that is partially legal. Greater irregularities are recorded in baby sitting (51.8%) and in the regions of Southern Italy.


More generally, it should be remembered that the issue of equal pay represents constant challenges, in the context of gender policies and represents an aspect which, from a regulatory point of view, has received both European and national level a strong institutional attention.