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Italy’s gender gap is getting a whole lot worse

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Italy’s gender gap is getting a whole lot worse
Italy ranks poorly for equality between men and women. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP.
11:56 CET+01:00
Women who want equal opportunities to work, fair pay, political representation, a higher education and access to health care won’t find it in Italy, global statistics show.

Women have more equality in Mexico, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe or Bangladesh than in Italy, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 report on the global gender gap.

Out of 144 countries, Italy ranks 82nd for equal opportunities at work and in politics, education and health.

It has plummeted 32 places since last year’s ranking and 41 since 2015, placing it far behind its Northern European neighbours, who lead the index globally.

Italy now ranks below almost any other country in the European Union, with the exception of the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Malta and Hungary.

In particular, Italy has seen a drop in wage equality and in the number of women taking top roles in government.

Some 62 percent of Italian women’s work each day is unpaid, the WEF said, compared to 30 percent for Italian men. Women work longer than men on average – 512 minutes per day compared to 453 minutes – yet are more likely to be unemployed or work part-time.

In government, just 31 percent of Italy’s parliament is female and 28 percent of ministers are women.

One area where Italy does score highly is advanced education: the country has significantly more women than men in tertiary education.

Degree subjects tend to be divided along gender lines, however, with men dominating maths, science, engineering and business, while more women study heath, education, arts and social sciences.

Meanwhile girls are more likely to be out of school in Italy than boys.

Italy’s decline in equality is marked but not an exception: according to the WEF, the global gender gap widened this year for the first time in a decade. With progress stalling, it’s expected to be another 100 years before the world reaches equality, compared to the 83 years estimated in 2016. 

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