Last April PWA was invited, along with other major Italian Women Associations, to a round table discussion on Women’s Leadership organized by the Norwegian Office of Trade and Tourism.
The occasion was the presence in Italy of the Norwegian Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Ms Rikke Lind who, together with the Ambassador of Norway Bjørn T.Grydeland, wanted to learn more about the situation of women in the Italian labor market, in light of the recent approval of the Golfo-Mosca law on gender quotas.
All the participants, including me who had the privilege to represent PWA, agreed that the quota law will be a great opportunity to introduce diversity and merit in italian Boards that now are closed and homogeneous* (*Osservatorio sul Diversity Management SDA Bocconi 2010).
And that, although the Law is becoming effective in August 2012, in the renewals occurred this spring you can already see an awareness of the issue, with the appointment of deserving women who was unthinkable few years ago (FIAT, FIAT Industrial, Mediobanca, ATM to name a few).
Surprised that Norway may have interest in discussing this kind of issues with our Country? We should not be. For once Italy is among the pioneering countries in Europe that have faced in a strong and structured way the issue of gender gap in the boards. It is right of these days the official appreciation to Italy by European Commissioner Viviane Reding on this topic “Italy: an example to follow“.
Having said that, it remains a deep admiration for a country, Norway, that:
- had for the first time a woman prime minister in 1986;
- has a government made up of 50% of women ministers;
- invests 3% of its GDP on initiatives to support families (higher percentage in Europe);
- introduced gender quotas in 2003 and has now 40% of female board members;
- has a rate of female employment of 75.4% (vs. 59% EU and vs 46% Italy).
All this, according to the Deputy Minister Lind, implies a wider exploitation of the talent pool in the country and constitutes an element of attraction for distinguished women from abroad.
Overall, therefore, the country is getting a competitive advantage out of it.