12 statistics that show the state of gender equality in Italy

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Jessica Phelan - [email protected]
12 statistics that show the state of gender equality in Italy
Demonstrators at the 2018 International Women's Day march in Rome. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

On International Women's Day, The Local looks what it's like to be a woman in Italy by the numbers.


  • Italy's pay gap is a little over 5 percent, lower than any other EU country except Romania, according to Eurostat. That's only partly good news, however, says the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: one of the reasons is that Italy has some of the fewest women in the workforce of any developed economy, meaning that those who do work are more likely to be better educated and in higher-paying jobs. 
  • Fewer than half of working-age Italian women are in employment, according to the OECD.

International Women's Day marchers in Milan. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

  • Around 62 percent of Italian women's work each day is unpaid, according to the World Economic Forum's latest report on the global gender gap, compared to 30 percent for Italian men. Women in Italy 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.
  • More than half of all Italians getting a degree are women. Nearly 59 percent of bachelor's graduates are women, according to the OECD, while women make up just over 52 percent of PhD grads, according to national statistics office Istat. 
  • Just 31 percent of Italy's last parliament was female, the WEF said, putting it below Ecuador, Angola and Belarus to name but a few. Even less of the cabinet was made up of women: 28 percent, with briefs predominantly in health and education. The number of female prime ministers or presidents in Italy, meanwhile, is a big fat zero.

A soldier on guard outside the presidential palace. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

  • Women made up a measly 16 percent of decision-making bodies in 2017, says Istat. Just under 34 percent of board members on listed companies were female, after Italy introduced a quota that requires boards to include at least 33 percent women.
  • In 2017, 121 women in Italy were murdered, according to police figures. In 59 percent of cases, the killer was a former or current partner, and 81 percent of murders took place at home or in a family setting. While the number of female murder victims has fallen since it stood at 150 in 2007, over the same period the percentage of women among Italy's total murder victims has risen, from 24 to 34 percent. 
  • Police handled 4,261 cases of sexual violence last year, of which 54 percent took place on the street or in cars. 

Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

  • Some 3.5 million women in Italy have been victims of stalking at least once between the ages of 16 and 70, equivalent to 16 percent of that age group. According to Istat, 2.2 million were stalked by an ex. 
  • Almost half of Italy's adult women have experienced some form of sexual harassment, says Istat. An estimated 8.2 million Italian women aged between 14 and 65 – close to 44 percent – have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime, perpetrated in 97 percent of cases by men. An estimated 1.4 million women, or just under nine percent of the age group, reported experiencing physical harassment or sexual blackmail at work. 
  • Women are more likely to read, go to the theatre, visit a museum or gallery, or create online content, according to Istat. For instance, in 2016 47 percent of girls and women over the age of 6 said they had a read a book in the past 12 months; for boys and men, the figure was 34 percent. 
  • Women in Italy have an average life expectancy of 84.9 years, Istat says. Men are expected to live to 80.6.

Several generations in Antrona, Piedmont. Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP



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