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					              EGGE – EC’s Expert Group on Gender and Employment




                      EVALUATION OF NATIONAL ACTION PLANS.
                                       ITALY 1998-2001.
                                          Paola Villa




Copyright Disclaimer: This report was produced as part of the work of the European Commission’s
Expert Group on Gender and Employment (EGGE) and was funded by the European Commission.
The European Commission has granted permission for this report to be published in this website. The
opinions and views expressed in this report remain the responsibility of the authors and authors alone,
and should not be taken to be representative of the views of the European Commission.
          EC's Expert Group on “Gender and Employment”

 Equal Opportunities Unit, DGV of the European Commission, Brussels

                             2001 Report




EVALUATION OF NATIONAL ACTION PLANS.
           ITALY 1998-2001.




                              Paola Villa

                       Dipartimento di Economia
                     Università degli Studi di Trento
                      Via Inama 5 – 38100 Trento
                      e-mail: villa@gelso.unitn.it




                           Trento, June 2001
                           TABLE OF CONTENTS



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                                           iii-iv
SUMMARY TABLE. Summary of the development of gender                         v-vi
    equality/mainstreaming in 2000/2001

1. THE EMPLOYMENT CONTEXT, THE EMPLOYMENT TARGETS AND THE GENDER                1
     EQUALITY DEFICIT

2. SUMMARY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF GENDER EQUALITY/GENDER MAINSTREAMING           6
     WITHIN THE NAPS 1998-2001
    2.1 Summary of the development within the NAPs 1998-2001                   6
    2.2 NAP 2001                                                              11
    2.3 The responses to the Council Recommendations (in 2000 and 2001        12
        NAPs)

3. RESPONSES TO THE HORIZONTAL OBJECTIVES (in the 2001 NAP)                   15

4. GENDER M AINSTREAMING, MONITORING AND EVALUATION (1998-2001)               16
    4.1 Gender mainstreaming (including monitoring, evaluation and gender     16
        targets)
    4.2 Employability                                                         17
    4.3 Entrepreneurship                                                      18
    4.4 Adaptability                                                          19

5. GENDER EQUALITY (and gender equality measures) (1998-2001)                 21
    5.1 Gender equality measures                                              21
    5.2 Priority attached to gender equality                                  24

6. FUTURE PROSPECTS, FUTURE PRIORITIES AND EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICES         26

LEGEND                                                                        27

REFERENCES                                                                    29

APPENDIX                                                                      30




                                       ii
                                      EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
•   In a slow growth economy such as Italy was throughout the ‘90s, women outperformed men thanks
    to the structural changes taking place in the economy. In 1999 female employment was above its
    1991 level (+150 thousands), while male employment was below it (-682 thousands). The shift
    toward services (from manufacturing) favoured female employment. At the end of the ‘90s, while for
    men the employment rate was still below the 1991 rate, for women it was above, even though it was
    very low (only 38.1%).

•   The female employment rate stands almost 13 percentage points below the EU average and 22
    below the Lisbon target. This low average rate is the result of two different employment patterns.
    The North-Centre is relatively close to the EU average (48%, in 2000); the Mezzogiorno is very
    distant from it (24.6%). The 2001 NAP can be evaluated positively (even though with some
    criticisms) if one limits the analysis to the developed areas of the country; on the contrary, the NAP
    continues to be entirely inadequate in addressing existing gender gaps in Mezzogiorno.

•   The overall picture of the ‘90s, including the last few years, is certainly gloomy in terms of
    employment performance. But things have recently changed for the better. GDP recorded a rate of
    growth higher than expected (+2.9%) in 2000 and total employment rose (from January 2000 to
    January 2001) by 3.2% (+659 thousands). Almost 60% of this increase in employment was in favour
    of women.

•   Progress has been made in the development of gender equality/gender mainstreaming since 1998.
    The first NAP was deficient in all respects, even in terms of presentation of existing policies; the
    1999 NAP showed some improvements, but more in terms of presentation of policies than in terms
    of content (mainstreaming was de facto not applied); the 2000 and 2001 NAPs recorded some
    advances both in gender mainstreaming and in the development of gender equality measures. In
    relative terms, significant steps forward have been made within the 1998-2001 NAPs; nevertheless,
    given the very low starting point, progress continues to be more in terms of promises than in
    concrete outcomes. The declared intentions are to be followed by more concrete measures/action
    to foster female participation in the labour market and to close gender employment/unemployment
    gaps.

•   The starting point was low (in 1998), but some improvements have been achieved. Four gender
    equality measures were presented in the 1998 NAP: two of them referred to two laws enacted in the
    early ‘90s (on positive actions and female entrepreneurship); the other two were draft laws for the
    implementation of European Directives (on night work and on parental leave). At the end of the
    period considered, the two laws of the early ‘90s were modified and strengthened; the two draft
    laws were enlarged in content (including some innovative provisions favouring reconciliation) and
    finally ratified into laws; moreover, new measures concerning other gender issues were put forward.

•   The outcome reached in the 2001 NAP shows continuity with the actions announced in the previous
    years. The Summary Table (pp. v-vi) presents a synthesis of the development of gender equality
    and mainstreaming in 2000-2001.

•   Some progress towards gender mainstreaming is identifiable in acknowledgement (2001 NAP) of
    three critical gender issues: (i) female employment rates continue to be very low; (ii) women suffer
    more than men from being trapped in atypical jobs; (iii) several policy tools (such as work training-
    contracts, apprenticeships, hiring with tax credit) continue to reflect the composition of demand for
    labour; therefore they do not contribute to the reduction of existing gender gaps. It is hence stated
    that in future the Government will have to introduce new policy tools able to guarantee employment
    opportunities for women in proportion to their unemployment rate.

•   The 2001 NAP for the first time announced the introduction of institutional mechanisms for gender
    mainstreaming.

•   Gender monitoring (on the gender impact of flexibility measures, on female entrepreneurship, and
    on the participation of women in actions financed through ESF) has been improved (and so has
    statistical information by gender).



                                                    iii
•   Attention to gender issues in the first three pillars is still lacking. But some measures have taken
    gender impact into account in their design:
    i) the planning and implementation of the reform of EPS;
    ii) the provisions favouring entrepreneurship (see the law on female entrepreneurship and the
         modifications to it);
    iii) the new regulations on part-time work (some changes have been made to the regulation of PT
         work, making it more flexible to employers, but some norms safeguarding part-timers have been
         approved, taking into account that the majority of part-timers are women).

•   The analysis of the content of the measures concerning gender equality shows that the issues on
    which the attention was focused throughout 1998-2001 were the following:
    i) strengthening the institutional role of the network of Parity Advisors as well as the presence and
         potential action of EO advisors in Employment Centres (though some obstacles prevent putting
         the regulations/law into operation);
    ii) strengthening of the links between strategies for the development of the Mezzogiorno and gender
         mainstreaming (in particular, the QCS 2000-2006 states that 10% of ESF should be devoted
         additionally for the promotion of EO);
    iii) favouring reconciliation (several provisions addressed this issue) and a family-friendly work
         organisation (through the provision of on the modernisation of work organisation financed with a
         budget of 40 billion Lire for 2000-01);
    iv) improving in economic terms the conditions of low income mothers and low income families with
         children (and/or dependants);
    v) improving the organisation of personal care and community services (a law on personal care and
         community services, “Legge sull’assistenza”, was enacted in 2001 by Parliament);
    vi) developing an overall strategy in order to close gender gaps in employment and unemployment
         also through specific actions (a new “National Plan for EO and female employment” prepared by
         the Ministry of Equal Opportunities, was announced as imminent in the 2001 NAP).

•   The Lisbon employment targets are considered and discussed in the 2001 NAP. It is argued that it
    will not be possible for Italy to reach the Lisbon targets (70% for the overall employment rate, 60%
    for women) by 2010, given the current wide gaps. With respect to the female employment rate, the
    Lisbon gap is too large (20 percentage points) to be closed in ten years time, even though recent
    trends have shown that significant improvements may be achieved in the future.

•   In the Centre-North (the developed areas) the strategies implemented have been effective in
    stimulating both the supply and the demand for labour, improving, overall, the employment
    performance of women. Labour market policies have been successful to some extent, even though
    on the whole too many measures continue to encourage demand for labour (reproducing the
    present employment structure), with insufficient attention paid to the conditions of the supply of
    female labour (as measured by unemployment rates). To create more favourable conditions for the
    employment of women, existing policies should be strengthened and supplemented with gender
    specific policies.

•   In the Mezzogiorno, female employment has increased, but at a lower rate than in the rest of the
    country, increasing the female employment gap. The data support the hypothesis that labour market
    policies have been largely ineffective for southern women, despite the strong economic recovery
    recorded in 2000. Effective specific measures in favour of female employment in the most
    depressed areas of the country are needed to encourage the integration of southern women in the
    labour market.

•   Moving towards the Lisbon targets will depend on whether it is possible to develop special
    strategies specifically oriented towards regional imbalances, to implement specific measures to
    narrow the wide gender gaps in employment and unemployment in the country as a whole, and to
    devise additional provisions/policies capable of tackling the very low employment rate of southern
    women.




                                                   iv
SUMMARY TABLE – Summary of the development of gender equality/mainstreaming in 2000-2001
                                                                                                                                     Date of measure            Reasons for relevance to gender
                                                                                                                                                                            equality
                                                                                                                                New for    2000     Earlier  Gender    Gender    Aims to   Should
                                                                                                                                 2001    measure  measure     impact   monitor-    close    assist
                                                    Title of measure (discontinued in brackets)                                            now       now    taken into   ing/     gender    gender
                                                                                                                                          imple-   yielding account in targets      gap      main-
                                                                                                                                         mented    results    design                      streaming
HORIZONTAL GUIDELINES
Monitoring and common        • In December 1999, a ‘Monitoring Unit’ was set up (at the Ministry of Labour) to improve the
indicators                     evaluation and monitoring of labour policies and develop appropriate common indicators                       √                             √
                               (including the gathering of data by gender, and the production of indicators by gender).
Regional disparities         • In planning the strategy for the development of Mezzogiorno, it has been decided to set
                               aside 10% of the ESF resources (within the QCS 2000-2006, Obj. 1 and 3) for the                              √                   √                   √
                               promotion of equal opportunities; this fund has to be used specifically and additionally for
                               this goal.
EMPLOYABILITY PILLAR
Measures for unemployed • PES reform: restructuring and modernisation of the PES (and their devolution to the                         in progress               √
                                                                                                                                                                √
                                                                                                                                                                √                   √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                               Regions)                                                                                               in progress                                   √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √        √
                                                                                                                                                                                             √
                                                                                                                                                                                             √
                                                                                                                                                                                             √
                             • The creation and activation of the new local Employment Centres (CPI)                                  in progress                         √
                                                                                                                                                                          √                  √
                                                                                                                                                                                             √
                             • The creation and implementation of the Employment Information System (EIS)                         √                                                 √        √
                             • The availability of personnel with specific competence in EO as well as of ‘counters’ in local
                               Employment Centres with similar features are included among indicators used to measure
                               efficiency and efficacy of PES structures.
                             • Incentives have been introduced with the explicit goal of finding a definitive solution to LSU     √
                                                                                                                                  √                                                 √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                               (Socially Useful Jobs, 48% are women) by favouring voluntary exits and proposing stable
                               job opportunities; it is estimated that 37,000 LSU workers will be allocated to stable
                               employment (Ministries, Regions) in 2001, and other 40,000 in 2002-03 [2001 NAP, p. 12].
                             • Territorial pacts and area contracts (see “Regional and Local Action”, Pillar 2)
Measures for inactive/return • Territorial pacts and area contracts (see “Regional and Local Action”, Pillar 2).
Tax and benefit policies
Active ageing
Lifelong learning            • Law no. 53/2000 (on Parental Leave) entitles employees to unpaid (divided or continuous)                     √
                                                                                                                                            √
                                                                                                                                            √
                                                                                                                                            √                   √
                                                                                                                                                                √
                                                                                                                                                                √
                                                                                                                                                                √                   √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                               leave of up to one year for life-long learning.
                             • Training schemes included in the ‘Territorial pacts’ and ‘Area contracts’.                                   √                                       √
Job matching/bottlenecks
Discrimination/social exclus ion
ENTREPRENEURSHIP PILLAR
Business start up            • Law 215/1992 on female entrepreneurship                                                                                √
                                                                                                                                                      √
                                                                                                                                                      √         √
                                                                                                                                                                √
                                                                                                                                                                √                   √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                             • ‘Bersani package’ (L. 140/1999, art. 13): this provides financial incentives for enterprises                 √
                                                                                                                                            √
                                                                                                                                            √
                                                                                                                                            √                   √
                                                                                                                                                                √
                                                                                                                                                                √
                                                                                                                                                                √                   √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                               with predominant female participation (at least 70%)
                             • New Regulations to implement L. 215/1992 (to streamline procedures)                                √                                                 √
                             • Observatory for the monitoring of female entrepreneurship; information, training and                                   √
                                                                                                                                                      √
                                                                                                                                                      √                   √
                                                                                                                                                                          √
                                                                                                                                                                          √
                               financial support are provided to potential female entrepreneurs.
Knowledge society
Regional and local action    • Territorial pacts and area contracts                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                                      √
                                                                                                                                                      √
                                                                                                                                                      √                             √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
Tax reforms for              • Reform of the education system                                                                         in progress                                   √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
                                                                                                                                                                                    √
employment and training      • Reform of the training system                                                                          in progress                                   √
                                                                                                                                                                                                      v
ADAPTABILITY PILLAR
Working time               • The law on Parental Leave establishes a total fund (800 billions per year), partly set aside              √       √       √
                              for enterprises adopting a flexible organisation of working time aimed at improving the
                              reconciliation of work and family life (L. 53/2000, Section III).
                           • The decree for the implementation and financing of the provision favouring flexible
                              organisation of working time has been enacted (40 billions for 2000-01)                              √           √       √
Flexibility and security   • New regulations on Part-Time work: these introduce some new forms of flexibility for                  √
                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                   √   √
                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                       √               √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                              employers and some protection for part-timers, assert the principle of non-discrimination in
                              favour of part-timers, and establish contribution related reliefs favouring long and stable
                              part-time work (D.Lgs 61/2000 and D.Lgs. 100/2001)
Lifelong learning          (see Pillar 1, above)
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
Gender mainstreaming       •   The methodology for the ex-ante, in interim and ex-post evaluation of all projects financed                 √       √       √
                               by the Structural Funds has been established by the Ministry of EO (VISPO document).
                           •   A Flexibility Monitoring Unit has been set up to monitor the gender impact of flexible work                 √
                                                                                                                                           √
                                                                                                                                           √
                                                                                                                                           √       √
                                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                                   √
                               arrangements.
                           •   Law on Parity Advisors (2000 Finance Act and D.Lgs. 196/2000): the role of PAs has been
                               strengthened; they have been given the financial resources needed to tackle discrimination          √   √       √           √
                               cases (also by bringing lawsuits)
                           •   National Plan for Equal Opportunities in Employment (in order to enable the transition from         √
                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                   √               √
                                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                                   √   √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √   √
                                                                                                                                                           √
                                                                                                                                                           √
                                                                                                                                                           √
                               an experimental strategy to a large-scale approach).
                           •   The Master Plan on PES establishes that preventive policies are expected to develop
                               ‘specific institutional mechanisms for gender mainstreaming’ [2001 NAP, p. 11]                      √                       √
Employment and             •   New regulations on Part-time work (see Pillar 3).
unemployment gaps          •   The new norms on PES establish that Employment Services must offer all unemployed                   √
                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                   √           √
                                                                                                                                               √
                                                                                                                                               √
                                                                                                                                               √       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                               women, within the first 6 months of unemployment, an opportunity to enter either a job
                               experience or a training/retraining programme [2001 NAP, p. 29].
Desegragation/positive     •   Law on Night Work (L. 25/1999 and D.Lgs. 532/1999): the ban on night shifts for women                   √
                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                       √       √
                                                                                                                                               √
                                                                                                                                               √
                                                                                                                                               √       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
action                         has been removed.
                           •   Law on Positive Actions (L. 125/1991).                                                                      √   √       √
Pay                        •   A research project on Gender Pay Gap has been promoted by the National Committee on                 √
                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                   √               √
                                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                                   √
                               EP (Ministry of Labour)
Leave arrangements         •   L. 53/2000 on Parental Leave: this ensures leave periods for both parents during the first              √
                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                       √       √
                                                                                                                                               √
                                                                                                                                               √
                                                                                                                                               √       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                               eight years of the child’s life. Fathers are induced to take up parental allowances: a longer
                               period of leave is granted, provided that is shared on equal basis by both parents.
Family friendly policies   •   It has been established that mothers and fathers of small children have the right to refuse             √
                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                       √       √
                                                                                                                                               √
                                                                                                                                               √
                                                                                                                                               √       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                               night shifts (in L. 25/1999, on night work, and D.Lgs. 532).
                           •   General norms for the implementation of the City Clock approach and hours bank by                       √       √       √
                               municipalities, to improve the use of time and quality of life, are set by law [in L. 53/2000, on
                               parental leave, Capo VII]
                           •   Maternity benefits for low income mothers (including inactive mothers), tax benefits for
                               separated or divorced spouses, lower taxation on households with children or on low                     √
                                                                                                                                       √       √
                                                                                                                                               √
                               incomes (L. 144/1999, art. 50).
                           •   Rebates on social contributions to be paid on persons appointed to either care tasks or
                               socially useful work (2000 Finance Act).                                                                √               √
Care provisions            •   Law on “Assistenza” (see the 2001 NAP on Social Inclusion): This states the general norms           √
                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                   √
                                                                                                                                   √           √
                                                                                                                                               √
                                                                                                                                               √
                                                                                                                                               √       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                                                                                                                                                       √
                               on the new welfare system in the area of social services (including measures for the
                               disabled, vouchers to households for the purchase of care services, public and household
                               information services, reorganisation of the Public Assistance Institutes).
                                                                                                                                                               vi
1. THE EMPLOYMENT CONTEXT, THE EMPLOYMENT TARGETS AND THE GENDER EQUALITY
   DEFICIT
                                                                    1
i)    Main trends in employment and gender equality

The employment situation in the EU steadily improved over the last four years (1996-99), reflecting
the positive overall economic climate. Italy followed the same pattern of expansion, but all indicators
show a slower economic recovery; hence the employment situation improved to a much smaller
      2
extent .

Employment growth was inadequate in Italy during the ‘90s and prevented an increase in the overall
employment rate. The poor job performance is documented by the fact that in 1999 total employment
was still below its 1991 level (-530 thousands). The unemployment rate steadily increased through
the early ‘90s and then fluctuated around 11-12%. A small decrease was recorded only in 1999. The
overall employment rate first declined and then only slowly increased (1998-99), without reaching
the 1991 rate.

In a slow growth economy such as Italy was throughout the ‘90s, women outperformed men thanks
to the structural changes taking place in the economy. In 1999 female employment was above its
1991 level (+150 thousands), while male employment was below it (-682 thousands) (see Appendix,
table A1). In the years of slow growth, total employment either contracted or recorded only marginal
increases, but the changes in the employment structure (with the shift toward services) allowed for a
redistribution of employment in favour of women. During recovery (in the late 1990s), the expansion
of employment among women was much greater than among men (both in relative and in absolute
terms). At the end of the ‘90s, while for men the employment rate was still below the 1991 rate, for
women it was above it, even though still well below the EU average (only 38.1%).

The better employment performance among women in the ‘90s is due more to general economic
factors (composition of demand for labour) than to specific labour market policies favouring female
employment. In fact, labour market policies (in particular, policies favouring more flexible forms of
contractual arrangements) affected the composition of jobs created (quality of jobs). In a situation of
                                                                                             3
low growth, most of the new jobs were “atypical” (fixed-term contracts, temporary work , part-time
work). In conditions of uncertainty employers were prudent: they did not hire; if they needed to do so
they preferred “atypical” contracts, eventually transforming these contracts into stable/FT contracts in
expansionary periods. Women continued to find greater difficulties than men in entering employment.
Thus, they were more willing to accept these new forms of employment. As a result, the share of
atypical work increased over time; it was highly feminised (in all its forms); the tendency to transform
atypical contracts into stable employment (in recovery) benefited women less than men; finally,
southern women (the group most severely hit by the lack of job opportunities) suffered more than any
other group of lack of good jobs. As a matter of fact, southern women experienced a high share of
involuntary PT work and/or fixed-term PT unstable employment (see table 6).

Having summarised the main trends in employment over the ‘90s, it is now time to consider the
problematic areas that restrain the promotion of gender equality in Italy. As pointed out in
Employment in Europe 2000 (EC 2000a), Italy is one of the three large Member States (with
Germany and France) slowing down improvement in the employment rate in the Union. With respect
to the integration of women in the economy the major unsolved problems are the following.

1
     Most of the data referred to in this section are taken from EC (2000a, p. 93) and EC (2000b, p. 131). Some indicators are
     summarised in the Appendix, Table A.4.
2
     This gap in employment growth is considerable in the last two years: in Italy, total employment increased by 0.6% (1.3% in
     EU) in 1998, and by 1% (1.4% in EU) in 1999.
3
     Temporary work is used here to refer to “lavoro interinale”.


                                                                                                                                 1
•    Employment rate among women (15-64) remains very low: 38.1% in 1999 (ranking 14the, after
     Spain). It stands 14.5 percentage points below the EU average (going down to 7.6 percentage
     points if calculated in terms of FTE) (Appendix, Table A.4).

•    If one considers female participation (instead of employment), and excludes the young and the
     old population, the relative position of Italy does not improve. Notwithstanding the long-term
     increase in the proportion of women in the labour force in the 25-54 age group, participation
     remains low compared to the EU average: in 1999, only 57% of women in this age group were in
     the labour force (ranking 15) (EC, 2000a, p. 18).

•    Employment rates among older workers (of 55 and over) of both sexes continue to be below the
     EU average (27.5% for Italy and 36.9% for the EU in 1999), without clear signs of an increase
     (EC, 2000a, p. 46-7). If one considers women aged 50-59 and 60-64, Italy ranks at the very
     bottom within the Union (Appendix, Table A.5 for Italy).

•    The low employment rates for young people of both sexes did not increase (in 1996-99),
     widening the already large gap with the EU average (25.5% and 39% in 1999, respectively). This
     problem is statistically mirrored in high youth unemployment rates (among the highest in the
     Union), which slightly rose in 1996-99.

•    Unemployment for both sexes was higher than in 1991; moreover, the female unemployment
     rate was still almost twice the male rate (15.6% and 8.7%, in 1999; ranking 13th). This indicator
     shows that the share of women entering unemployment is much larger than that of men.

•    Unemployment in Italy is not only much higher than the EU average, but its composition shows a
     high incidence of long-term unemployment, for both sexes (ranking 15th): around 60% of
     unemployed men and women have been out of work for a year or more, equivalent to 5.4%
     (men) and 9.5%(women) of the labour force. This indicator suggests that once women enter
     unemployment, they stay longer than men.

•    The low employment rates among young women (20-24 and 24-29) summarise the difficulties
     encountered by women in the Italian labour market: the gender gap is very high in Italy
     (Appendix, table A.5), much higher than that recorded in other member states (only Spain
     presents figures of similar magnitude).

•    All these problems are more severe in the southern regions (Mezzogiorno). In the 1990s, the
     distance between the economic conditions of the developed regions and the underdeveloped
     Mezzogiorno did not diminish. Therefore, the situation of women within the country is remarkably
     heterogeneous in intensity. According to national sources (Appendix, table A.3), in 2000 the
     female employment rate was equal to 52.1% in the North-East, but it was only 24.6% in the
           4
     South .

The overall picture of the ‘90s, including the last few years, is certainly gloomy in terms of
employment performance. But things have recently changed for the better. National sources – just
published – show a significant improvement in 2000, in terms of both GDP growth and employment
expansion. As is well known, economic growth impacts on employment with some lag, therefore to
measure the recent increase in employment it is better to consider the changes recorded from
January 2000 to January 2001 (as summarised in table 1). GDP recorded a rate of growth higher
than expected (+2.9%) in 2000 and total employment rose (from January 2000 to January 2001) by
3.2% (+659 thousands).


4
    These two geographical areas have been chosen to show the magnitude of regional imbalances within Italy.


                                                                                                               2
This increase has been described as extraordinary by many Italian commentators. In particular, as
very recently pointed out by Mr. Fazio (Governor of the Bank of Italy), the employment growth
recorded in 2000 is outstanding according to Italian records. It is necessary to go back to the ‘50s
(one record) and to the ‘70s (two records) to find unusual employment growth of the same
magnitude.

Table 1 - GDP and employment growth, 1996-99 and 2000
                               1996-1999            1996-1999              2000 *                2001
                                total change      yearly av. change                            estimates**

    ∆% GDP                          5.5                  1.6                 2.9                  2.3

    ∆% Employment                   3.9                  1.0                 3.2               1.5 ; 1.8
    Absolute change in             + 769               + 192                + 659             +310 ; +370
    Employment (‘000)
Note: * The employment data considered here are taken from the January survey of each year to allow for the lagged
        response of employment to change in GDP;
       ** For 2001 GDP growth was given different estimates ranging from 2.5 (EC) to 2.0 (IMF). The OECD estimate (+2.3
          GDP growth) is the more recent one. The estimates for employment growth are those produced in May 2001 by CER
          and Prometeia (Il Sole 24 Ore, 3rd May 2001, p. 8).
Source: Istat, Contabilità Nazionale; Istat, Rilevazione Trimestrale delle Forze di Lavoro.


It is useful to summarise the new positive trends in employment, as shown by national sources from
January 2000 to January 2001, in the following points (see Appendix, Table A2).

•     The employment growth recorded over the last year was induced by economic growth (see table
      1); comparison with the economic performance of 1996-99 supports the hypothesis that labour
      market policies (fostering flexibility) cannot take the place of economic expansion.

•     The current job recovery appears to be linked to jobs of better quality: over the period January
      1996 – January 2000 (characterised by low GDP growth rates) almost all of the net employment
      growth among employees was “atypical” (+756 thousands, out of +770 thousands); over the last
      year (January 2000 – January 2001), given high GDP growth, standard employment expansion
      (full time, permanent) outperformed that of “atypical” employment. For employees, the absolute
      increase in permanent full time employment (+ 370 thousands) was three times larger than that
      in “atypical” employment (+ 128 thousands) (see Appendix, table A.2).

•     For the first time (since 1991) the unemployment rate fell below 10% (9.9% in January 2001).

•     Women are the main beneficiaries of employment created in this last year, confirming the trend
      recorded in 1998 and 1999. Female employment accounts for 58.8% of the total net employment
      increase (Jan. 2000 to Jan. 2001, see Appendix, table A.2).

•     The female employment rate shows a significant increase in 2000, confirming the positive trend
      recorded in 1998 and 1999 (after stagnating for several years, in the ‘90s).

•     In all geographical areas women outperform men in terms of employment growth; nevertheless,
      while the North-East (the area with the highest female employment rate) records the highest
      increase (+3.7%), the South (the area with the lowest female employment rate) records the
      lowest increase (+2.3%) (see Appendix, Table A.3).

•     In 2000, employment growth in the Mezzogiorno is almost equal to the increase recorded for the
      whole country (1.8% and 1.9%, respectively). Within the Mezzogiorno, women outperform men
      (2.3% and 1.6% respectively, see Appendix, table A.3); however, while men in the South do
      better than in the country as a whole, women in the South do worse. This implies a widening


                                                                                                                     3
     among regions in the female employment gap. The historical lack of growth in southern regions
     has led to severe structural problems. Employment is severely insufficient for both men and
     women; whenever there is some recovery men compete with women to obtain the new jobs
     created. Hence, women in the Mezzogiorno benefit less from recovery and from the expansion of
     services than women in the rest of the country.



ii) The position of Italy with respect to meeting the Lisbon targets

Regaining “full employment” as set out by the European Council (Lisbon Summit, March 2000)
means that by 2010 the employment rate should rise to close 70% for the Union as a whole and to
over 60% for women.

In order to evaluate the position of Italy with respect to meeting the Lisbon target it is useful:

•    to summarise in a few indicators the position of Italy with respect to the EU average today (1999
     data) and to the Lisbon target (see table 2);

•    to evaluate the employment performance of recent years (1996-99), as summarised in the Joint
     Employment Report 2000 (see Appendix, Table A.4).

Table 2 – The position of Italy with respect to EU average in employment rates (1999) and the
          Lisbon targets for 2010
                             EU 1999     EU target   Lisbon gap   Italy 1999   Ranking EU ‘99 gap Lisbon gap
                                         for 2010      for EU                           for Italy   for Italy
    Employment rate, MF       62.1%        70%         - 7.9       52.5 %        14       - 9.6      - 17.5
    Employment rate, M        71.6%                                67.1%         15       - 4.5
    Employment rate, F        52,6 %       60%         - 7.4       38.1%         14       - 14.5     - 21.9
    Gender gap (F – M)         - 19.0                              - 29.0        13

Source: Eurostat, LFS


As shown in table 2, Italy occupies bottom place in terms of employment rates (together with Spain
and Greece), much below the Lisbon targets. Moreover, as pointed out in several EC documents, the
economic and employment performance of Italy in the ‘90s has been below the EU average (together
with Germany and France). Italy is a large Member State; therefore, its future employment
performance will be crucial if the Union is to meet the Lisbon targets.

Given the low starting point in terms of employment rates, it will certainly be impossible for Italy to
achieve the Lisbon targets by 2010. A feasible objective (to allow the Union to achieve, on average,
the employment targets) could be something between the following two hypotheses:
- low road: to maintain over time (2001-10) the average trends recorded in Europe;
- high road: to do better than the EU average in order to reduce the gaps.

The second hypothesis is possible, but it will depend on two crucial macroeconomic conditions: (i)
GDP growth rates; (ii) structural economic policies fostering economic development in the
Mezzogiorno.

Table A4 (see Appendix) compares the employment performance of Italy in 1996-99 with that of the
Union. To start with, Italy ranks low on all the employment and unemployment indicators listed.
Moreover, in the years considered Italy’s relative position worsened: for all indicators the gap with the
EU average increased. The last column in table A4 measures the changes (in percentage points)



                                                                                                                4
with respect to the EU average. Male FTE employment rate is the only indicator to show a (small)
reduction in the gap, all the others show an increase. In particular, the female employment rate
increased, but significantly less than the EU average (with a difference of 0.9 percentage points). To
enable the Union to achieve the Lisbon targets Italy must improve its employment performance,
doing at least as well as the EU does on average. To this end, it will be crucial to speed up the
process of integration of women in the labour market. This will be possible, but only if specific labour
market policies succeed in fostering female employment in the Mezzogiorno.


iii) The key dimensions of gender inequality (and need for action)

The low female employment rate (and the pattern across age groups) is explained by some
preconditions not subject to rapid changes. On the one hand, the welfare state system continues to
be based more on the distribution of income (mainly pensions) than on the production of services;
this implies that families (that is women) must provide most care services (for children, old age and
sick relatives). On the other hand, despite all the structural reforms introduced in the last two
decades, the rules governing the labour market continue to be centred around a male breadwinner
working full-time in a permanent job. Women entering the labour market must adapt to organisations
planned around the idea of “male” workers (long and inflexible working hours, continuity of
employment in order to gain promotion and be trained on the job, etc.); at the same time, they must
provide care services for their families.

A stylised picture of the labour market for women in Italy, at the dawn of the third millennium depicts
it as composed of three main segments. In the first, highly educated women enter relatively good
jobs (wage differentials are low, vertical and horizontal segregation is relatively low, there is some
possibility for career development) and they stay in employment, working full-time, throughout their
working age; the employment conditions and working time patterns are the same as for men. In the
second segment, medium educated women enter highly feminised sectors and occupations (where
wages are lower than in comparable sectors/occupations dominated by men, and possibilities for
advancement are scant); for the large majority of women employed here, employment patterns and
working time conditions are similar to those of men; in some sectors (such as retailing) a share of
employment is asked to work part-time, but this is not necessarily the women’s choice. In the third
segment, low educated women are employed in marginal sectors and occupations (here, irregular
work is common, employment is unstable, there is neither training nor career development). For
medium and low educated women it is still very common to exit the labour market when the
economic needs of the family are less stringent (that is, when the earnings of the spouse have
increased enough to allow the women to exit from activity) or when the costs – economic (paying for
services provided in the market) and personal (no spare time) - of being employed are too high.

In order to present a summary assessment of recent progress in terms of gender equality, one can
envisage five main areas of interest. For each area it is possible to give an overall evaluation of the
progress made:
- education: equality has been fully achieved (certainly in terms of years of schooling);
- employment: equality has not yet been achieved; all indicators show that gender gaps remain
   substantial in both employment and unemployment rates; nevertheless some improvements have
   been accomplished;
- wage differentials: compared to other member states, wage differentials are relatively narrow in
   Italy. In the 1990s, the institutional changes introduced in the wage bargaining process increased
   the dispersion of wages overall, producing a negative impact on women’s relative position. At the




                                                                                                      5
  same time, the increase in education levels favoured the entry of women into new
  sectors/occupations, thereby improving female relative earnings (CNP–ITER, eds., 2001);
- career development continues to be difficult for women, even though some positive developments
  have been recorded in certain sectors, however, it still holds true that above certain levels it is very
  difficult (almost impossible, in some situations) for women to advance;
- feminisation in decision making positions remains very low (in general and particularly in political
  institutions).

Having to restrict the discussion to employment targets, I would like to suggest the following key
dimensions of gender inequality (and the need for action).
•   To move in the direction of the Lisbon targets, the more problematic groups for intervention are
    the old and the young (of both sexes), and women (in general). In the case of women, I strongly
    believe that future actions should concentrate on young women in the 20-24 and 24-29 age
    groups. Data (for Italy as a whole) show a very large gender gap in these two age groups (-
                                        5
    14.06 and –21.40, respectively) which is justified neither by differences in educational
    attainments nor by the impact of motherhood. For an overall increase in the female employment
    rate - especially in Mezzogiorno - it will be easier and quicker to favour their employment (than
    any other strategy). Some strong specific actions in favour of the employment of these young
    women will enable the achievement in the future of a subsequent increase in the following age
    groups. It is important to recall that having once entered employment, educated women do not
    readily exit the labour force.
•   Female part-time work is low in Italy compared to the EU average (15.7% in 1999, ranking 3),
    but the share of involuntary part-time work is high (33.1%, ranking 13). There is a need here for
    action to expand only voluntary part-time work. My hypothesis is that there is a large number of
    non-active women willing to enter employment if they could find jobs which were not too
    demanding in terms of working time.
•   As is well known, in Italy a lack of education discourages female employment more than the
    presence of small children (Bettio and Villa, 1999). In many situations where the economic
    needs of the family are strong these women work for low wages as undeclared labour. In order
    to increase the employment rate of low educated women, specific actions should be taken: (i) to
    favour the “regularisation” of their employment (as this will increase the number of employed
    women “in the official statistics”), and (ii) to improve their earning conditions (as this will reduce
    some discouragement effects, hence increasing female participation).
•   Last, but not least, as already pointed out, a lack of job opportunities in the South does not allow
    too many women to enter employment (keeping down the female employment rate for the
    country as a whole). To foster female employment it is crucial to put forward an overall strategy
    that creates new jobs for the Mezzogiorno in general, and for southern women in particular. And
    this is certainly the most difficult task that will face Italy in the future.


2. SUMMARY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF GENDER EQUALITY/GENDER MAINSTREAMING WITHIN
   THE NAPS 1998-2001

2.1 Summary of the development within the NAPs 1998-2001

This section provides an overall evaluation of the development of gender equality/gender
mainstreaming within the NAPs 1998-2001, as summarised in table 3. A more detailed discussion of
the measures mentioned here is conducted in sections 4 and 5).




                                                                                                        6
Progress has been made since 1998. The first NAP was deficient in all respects, even in terms of the
presentation of existing policies; the 1999 NAP showed some improvements, but more in terms of
the presentation of policies than in terms of content (mainstreaming was de facto not applied); the
2000 and 2001 NAPs recorded some advances in both gender mainstreaming and the development
of gender equality measures. In relative terms, significant steps forward have been made within the
1998-2001 NAPs; nevertheless, given the very low starting point, progress continues to be in terms
of promises (i.e. new laws have been passed but not yet put into force, new actions have been
announced and planned but the formal procedure for their enactment has yet to be completed) more
than in terms of concrete outcomes. The declared intentions are to be followed by more concrete
measures/action to foster female participation in the labour market and to close gender
employment/unemployment gaps.

The 1998 NAP did not show a strong commitment to the objective of promoting equal opportunities
for men and women. In quantitative terms, it devoted 3 pages (out of 40) to gender equality
measures; in qualitative terms, the attention paid to gender issues was even thinner. Almost all
policies presented were discussed as if they were gender neutral. The efforts of the government in
                                                           6
terms of labour market policies were focused elsewhere ; the promotion of equal opportunities was
implicitly considered to be an optional policy issue that could be left behind, maybe being rescued in
good times when ‘the major problems’ of the labour market have been solved. The implicit
assumption - behind the neglect of gender equality - was that over the last two decades the Italian
economy has performed rather poorly in terms of job creation; nevertheless all the job creation
capacity shown was in favour of women. The hypothesis behind this lack of concern of gender issues
can be summarised as follows:
        “ … it will be sufficient to put in motion the job creation machine, to expand employment
        opportunities for women. At the same time, as the labour market becomes more and more flexible
        (with more part-time work, fixed-term jobs and temporary contracts, an expansion of telework, and
        so on), women will find it easier to reconcile paid and non-paid work. The negative repercussions
        for women (on training, skills, career, employment prospects, earnings, future pension) of this
        increase in atypical work were ignored.” (Villa, 1998, p. 3)

As argued elsewhere (Villa, 1998), the case of Italy – as emerges in the 1998 NAP – shows that far
too often policies with strong direct implications for women (in the labour market and in the
household) ignore gender impact analysis, as if policies were gender neutral. This is the result of the
fact that far too often decision makers are almost exclusively men, entirely ignorant of gender
mainstraming and gender impact analysis. It is not infrequent the case that all participants in a
complex decision process are men, with no awareness of gender problems.
                                                                                                                   7
This was the case of the bargaining and signing of the “Patto Sociale”, in December 1998 . This was
a wide ranging political agreement – subscribed by government representatives, employers’
associations and trade union organisations – which set the agenda for the near future in terms of
employment policy, wage policy, welfare reforms and local development policies. The lack of concern
about equal opportunities and gender mainstreaming was absolute. The fact that women were
excluded from such an important political event to plan the 'modernisation of Italian society' was


5
    See Appendix, table A5. The only other European country with a gender gap of a similar magnitude is Spain.
6
    The three major policy issues discussed in the 1998 NAP were the following: (i) regional disparities and the increasing
    polarisation of labour market conditions between the North-Centre and the South; (ii) general reform the Central
    Administration (including the reform of PES); (iii) reform of several institutions within the Welfare System.
7
    The lack of concern about gender issues is highlighted by the following remarks: (i) a large number of people (45) were
    engaged in the definition of this agreement; notwithstanding the high numbers involved, there was only one woman
    (substituting for a man) at the bargaining table; (ii) the government was represented by six ministers, but not a single
    woman-minister (of which there were six at that time) was invited to participate either directly or indirectly in the
    negotiations; (iii) women’s organisations were neither invited nor consulted; (iv) some of the issues under discussion dealt
    directly with female employment and the position of women in the labour market.


                                                                                                                                   7
denounced by the national press. Echoes of the harsh criticisms provoked by this shameful exclusion
reached the highest political levels, and some signs of the need to acknowledge women’s
competence in shaping the future of employment policies emerged. In particular, both the Minister of
Equal Opportunities and the institutions representing EO were invited to contribute to the drafting of
the following NAPs.

Notwithstanding the general lack of concern about gender issues (typical of the Italian political
institutions) some significant results were achieved in the period considered (1998-2001). To
understand this puzzling situation one has to consider the successful collaboration that took place
between the Ministry of Social Solidarity (On. Livia Turco) and the three Ministers of Equal
Opportunities (On. Anna Finocchiaro, Professor Laura Balbo, On. Katia Belillo) in office during the
period considered. Equally crucial was the collaboration between these women-ministers and (i) the
EO institutions (the National Parity Advisor and the CNP), (ii) that part of the trade union movement
sensitive to gender issues, finally (iii) a small group of academics (mostly women) generously
supplying their time and expertise. Several important initiatives aiming to favour equality between
women and men were taken (as summarised in table 3). The progress achieved was highly visible in
the drawing up of the 1999-2001 NAPs.

The 1999 NAP showed some positive developments in terms of concern about gender problems in
the labour market. Nonetheless, the document did not include significant examples of mainstreaming
processes or practices at central level. It should be pointed out that in Italy there is a clear separation
between the political institutions at the central level, where the actors involved are almost exclusively
men, and what is planned and accomplished at the local level (in particular, local administrations and
councils), where women are more easily involved (Villa 1999, p. 24).

At the central level, gender issues are addressed mainly through the drafting and the enactment of
laws; to a large extent their implementation is not monitored with appropriate instruments. Italy still
lacks monitoring tools and a tradition in the impact assessment of labour market policies. This is true
in general; but the deficit is even greater in the case of gender impact assessment. The 1999 NAP
presented some novelties in this respect: three new measures were announced to improve gender
evaluation and the monitoring of policies (see table 3). This was only an initial step but it was
significant.

Besides the new measures for the monitoring of policies, the 1999 Nap presented only a handful of
new measures (relevant to gender equality), although some of them were innovative for Italy:
-    maternity benefits were extended (by decree of the Ministry of Labour, in May 1998) to self-
                                                                        8
     employed mothers (and other categories of female workers ) lacking any other social security
     coverage, through the introduction of a specific childbirth allowance;
-    the law on night work was passed (L.25/1999). In addition to the implementation of the European
     Directive, the right for mothers and fathers of small children to refuse night shift work was
     introduced;
-    the draft law on parental leave was presented. In addition to implementation of the European
     Directive, this introduced general norms for implementation of the ‘City clock approach’ in
     municipalities; moreover, it provided incentives for innovations in work organisation in order to
     favour reconciliation;
-    the Council of Ministers passed a resolution aimed at strengthening the network of PAs (and their
     action, at the national and at the local level); for the first time, after the enactment of the law on
     positive actions in 1991, the need to change the mechanisms for its implementation was
     acknowledged at governmental level.

8
    These are women with an employment relationship of ‘coordinated and continuing collaboration’ (freelance workers).




                                                                                                                         8
Table 3 – Summary of the development of gender equality/mainstreaming in 1998-2001 NAPs
                               1998                              1999                                              2000                                             2001
Institutional No new measure                 No new institutional mechanism for gender          No new institutional mechanism for gender         New institutional mechanisms:
mechanisms                                   mainstreaming was announced.                       mainstreaming was announced.                      - A new law (D.Lgs. 196/2000) provides for
for gender                                   The mainstreaming approach was                     Some actions in order to promote gender           the participation of Parity Advisors (regional
mainstream-                                  implemented through the integration of             mainstreaming were taken, however the             and Provincial PAs) in all Surveillance
ing                                          legislative and statistical measures (see          process was still in its very initial stage (as   Committees, as stated in the EC Regulation
                                             cells below).                                      explicitly acknowledged in the NAP) [p. 4         n. 1260/99, and in local partnership settings
                                                                                                and 28].                                          in order to develop stable consulting
                                                                                                                                                  mechanisms with EO bodies [p. 28].
                                                                                                                                                  - As part of the Reform of the PES, it is
                                                                                                                                                  stated that preventive policies are expected
                                                                                                                                                  to develop ‘specific institutional mechanism
                                                                                                                                                  for gender mainstreaming’ [p. 11].
Gender        None                           In terms of gender evaluation and                  - Ex-ante, in interim and ex-post evaluation - An official document (prepared by the
evaluation/                                  monitoring, three new measures were                of all projects financed by the Structural   Ministry of EO, according to the VISPO
monitoring of                                announced:                                         Funds, defined by a scheme proposed by       scheme) on the impact of the 10% share of
policies/                                    - an Observatory on female                    the Ministry of EO (VISPO) [p.26].                ESF devoted additionally to EO projects (in
setting of                                   entrepreneurship was set up by decree         - Establishment of a thresh-hold of financial     plans, national and regional) was
gender                                       (Ministry of EO);                             resources, amounting to 10% of ESF overall        announced as imminent [p.28 ].
targets                                                                                    resources, in order to provide direct support          - The activity of the Flexibility Monitoring
                                             - the Ministry of EO decided to set up the
                                             Flexibility Monitoring Unit (a monitoring and to the EO objective, providing for a specific          Unit was not explicitly mentioned, but its
                                             evaluation system for gender analysis);       Axis [p. 30-31].                                       conclusions were explicitly acknowledged
                                                                                                - The Flexibility Monitoring Unit, set up by      [p.28].
                                             - the Council of Ministers passed a bill on
                                             the re-orientation of all official statistics in   the Ministry of EO in order to monitor the        - The activity of the Observatory on female
                                             order to remove the gaps in statistical            gender impact of flexible work                    entrepreneurship continued (even though it
                                             information about gender-related                   arrangements (and spread information),            is not mentioned in the NAP).
                                             differences.                                       produced a first report [p.27].                   - The National Committee on Equal
                                                                                                - The Observatory on female                       Opportunities (at the Ministry of Labour)
                                                                                                entrepreneurship, set up at the Ministry of       promoted a research project on the gender
                                                                                                EO, started monitoring activities and to          pay gap. The project was completed in
                                                                                                provide information and training services to      March 2000, the main results were
                                                                                                applicants [p. 26].                               presented at a national conference [p.29].
                                                                                                No setting of gender targets was                  No setting of gender targets was
                                                                                                mentioned.                                        mentioned.
                                             No setting of gender targets was
                                             mentioned.
Attention to None                            Attention to gender issues was developed           Attention to gender issues was developed in Attention to gender issues was developed in
gender                                       mainly in terms of awareness of the                terms of awareness of the failure of existing terms of awareness of critical issues [p. 28]
issues in the                                possible (positive or negative) impact that        policies (based on automatic incentives to and in efforts to plan and implement the
first three                                  some labour policies could have on women.          enterprises) to tackle employment/             reform of the PES taking into account the
pillars                                      Actions to overcome possible negative              unemployment gender gaps [p. 4].               need for (i) specific actions and (ii) gender
                                             effects were not mentioned.                        - ‘Bersani package’ (L. 140/1999, art. 13): it mainstreaming.
                                                                                                                                                                                             9
                                                                  Only one policy proposal explicitly            provides financial incentives for new            - The official document ‘Master Plan for
                                                                  considered an action specifically in favour of enterprises having a prevailing female           PESs’ (approved on 20 Dec. 2000)
                                                                  female employment:                             participation (at least 70%) [p. 18 and 26].     includes, among indicators measuring the
                                                                  - the re-financing of the law on female        - Approval (2000 Finance Act) of maternity       efficiency and efficacy of PES structures,
                                                                  entrepreneurship (with an increased            benefits for low income mothers (including       the availability of personnel with specific
                                                                  allocation) and the enactment of a new         inactive mothers), tax benefits for separated    competencies on EO as well as the setting
                                                                  regulation of enforcement to streamline        or divorced spouses, lower taxation on           up of ‘counters’ with similar features [p.29].
                                                                  procedures and to contribute a share of        households with children or on low incomes. - The decree for the implementation and the
                                                                  resources to Regions and Provinces.            - Rebates on social contribution to be paid financing of the provision favouring flexible
                                                                                                                 on persons appointed to either care tasks or organisation of working time (family friendly)
                                                                                                                 socially useful work (2000 Finance Act);     was enacted.
                                                                                                                 beneficiaries: social cooperatives, families - The new regulations on PT work (D.Lgs
                                                                                                                 in need of care-takers (indirectly,          100/2001) (i) provide some additional
                                                                                                                 unregistered workers that after registration flexibility for employers, (ii) provide some
                                                                                                                 will receive a minimum level of social       protection for part-timers, (iii) assert the
                                                                                                                 protection).                                 principle of non-discrimination in favour of
                                                                                                                 - Reform of PT work (D.Lgs 61/2000) and      part-timers; (iv) encourage long and
                                                                                                                 incentives (for a three year period)         permanent part-time.
                                                                                                                 encouraging long and permanent PT [p. 24].
Development     Four measures were presented: 2 laws              New measures proposed or approved:             New measures proposed or approved:               New measures proposed or approved:
of equal        (enacted in the early 1990s) and 2 draft          - Approval of L. 25/1999 (art. 17) on Night    - Approval of the decree (D.Lgs. 532, Nov.       - Approval of the decree (D.Lgs. 196, July
opportunities   laws (for the implementation of two               Work: to remove the ban for women and to       ’99) for the implementation of the law on        2000) for the implementation of the
pillar          European Directives).                             introduce the right for mothers and fathers    Night Work.                                      provision on Parity Advisors.
                Laws in force:                                    of small children to refuse night shift.       - Approval of L. 53/2000 on Parental Leave       - It is established that Employment Services
                - Law on Positive Actions (L. 125/1991):          - Draft law on parental leave to reconcile     (to implement the European Directive and to      must offer all unemployed women an
                implemented but with very limited impact          working and family life (grants and parental   introduce some important innovations             opportunity to enter either a job experience
                (due to institutional and financial               leave for childcare, reinforcement of the      including leave for lifelong training and        or a training/retraining programme (within
                limitations);                                     childcare system).                             general norms for implementing the ‘city         the first 6 months of unemployment).
                - Law on Female Entrepreneurship (L.              - Draft law on childcare services (for         clock approach’).                                - Approval of the Law on “Assistenza”
                215/1992): not yet effective, due to the          children up to three years old).               - Draft Law on parity advisers: it was drafted   setting the general norms for the
                delay in the approval of the law decree     - Maternity benefits to female workers either        as a substantial change to L. 125/91. The        organisation of personal care and
                (required by law for its implementation).   self-employed or freelance (having an                role of PAs is reinforced by increasing the      community services (see also the 2001
                New measures proposed:                      employment relationship of ‘coordinated              financial resources granted to them for          NAP on social inclusion).
                                                                                                                 tackling discrimination cases (also by
                - Draft law on parental Leave (to implement and continuing collaboration’), lacking any          bringing lawsuits).
                the European Directive n.96/34);            other social security coverage, through the
                                                            setting up of a childbirth check.                    - Draft law on “Assistenza” [p. 13]
                - Draft law on night work (to implement the                                                                                                  The need for specific actions aimed at
                European Directive imposing to Italy to                                                          Actions specifically planned to reduce the  closing existing gender gaps is reaffirmed.
                remove the ban on night work for women in                                                        gender employment/unemployment gaps         The National Plan for EO in Employment is
                manufacturing).                                                                                  were not mentioned. However, the intention announced as imminent (by mid-2001).
                                                                  Actions specifically planned to reduce the     to plan a general strategy aiming to
                                                                  gender employment/unemployment gaps            increase female participation was asserted.
                                                                  were not mentioned.                            The Government committed itself to pass a
                                                                                                                 National Plan for EO in Em-ployment by
                                                                                                                 the end of 2000 [p.4 and 28].
Note: references to pages [...] in the table refer to the NAPs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            10
For various reasons, with the exception of maternity benefits, the other three measures (including the
law on night work, requiring a decree approved in November 1999) had to wait before they were ready
for implementation.

The 2000 and 2001 NAPs did not integrate gender issues in all policies, although they showed some
progress with respect to the previous NAPs. First of all, throughout the two documents attention to
gender issues developed in terms of awareness of the failure of traditional policies to tackle
employment and unemployment gender gaps. It was explicitly acknowledged that most of the policies
implemented were still based on automatic incentives granted to firms in order to stimulate the
expansion of labour demand. As a result, women benefited from these policies in proportion to their
share in employment, hence employment and unemployment gender gaps did not record significant
improvements (on this point, see section 4.2).

Secondly, all of the measures previously announced (in the 1999 NAP) as instruments to improve
gender monitoring/evaluation recorded significant progress. Not only did they produce some statistical
information but their major conclusions were acknowledged. In some instances, it is possible to single
out a few results in terms of either concrete outcomes (such as the acknowledgement that traditional
policies cannot reduce gender employment/unemployment gaps), or proposals of new measures
(such as the setting up of a special fund for the financing of projects on work organisation favouring
reconciliation), or assertions by the government about future action (such as the promise/commitment
to deliver a National Plan for EO in Employment).

Thirdly, both the 2000 and 2001 NAPs include some innovative provisions concerning gender issues
in the first three pillars, although on the whole the attention paid is inadequate with respect to the
difficulties women meet in entering employment. The main areas where some progress has been
achieved are the following:
-    female entrepreneurship (existing legislation has been strengthened);
-    planning and monitoring of the ESF contribution to support the equal opportunity objective (and
     establishing a 10% threshold of overall resources);
-    re-conciliation (three important laws dealing with critical issues for working parents have been
                             9
     enacted/implemented );
-    re-regulation of part-time (which takes account of the potential risks for part-timers);
-    flexible organisation of working time (family friendly);
-    planning of the PES reform (as gender issues have been explicitly considered).
As already stated (at the beginning of this section) some of the progress recorded continues to be
more in terms of promises than in terms of concrete outcomes. In some cases the procedures for the
effective implementation of existing legislation have not yet been completed (this is the case of the
provision on PAs); in other cases the ‘principles’ and the ‘rules’ are stated by law, but to bring the law
into operation the will of actors is required (such as the ‘working father’ who asks for parental leave, or
the social partners that plan a project for modernisation of work organisation/working time); finally,
political will is necessary for the pursuit of some goals (such as the government’s deciding to ratify the
National Plan on EO in Employment, and to propose to the Parliament the actions/provisions required
for its effective implementation).

2.2 NAP 2001

In order to evaluate the recent development of gender equality and mainstreaming, the Summary
Table (pp. v-vi) identifies any new policy measure or substantial change to existing policies introduced

9
    The law on night work, the law on parental leave and the law on “Assistenza” include important and innovative provisions for
    working parents (see table 2).

                                                                                                                             11
in the 2001 NAP.

First of all, in terms of outcomes, I would identify the large increase in female employment as a very
important achievement. The improvement in the conditions of the labour market has made it possible
to reverse some negative trends: employment rates have increased, unemployment rates have
decreased, the gender gaps in employment and in unemployment have narrowed.

In terms of strategy, I would underline some progress towards gender mainstreaming. This progress is
identifiable in the acknowledgement by the 2001 NAP of three critical gender issues. (i) It is stated that
female employment rates continue to be very low. (ii) It is acknowledged that women suffer more than
men from being trapped in atypical jobs: (women benefit less than men from the tendency, in
recovery, to transform atypical (unstable) jobs into stable employment. (iii) It is recognised that several
policy tools (such as work training-contracts, apprenticeships, hiring with tax credit) reflect the
composition of demand for labour; therefore they do not contribute to a reduction in existing gender
gaps. It is hence stated that in the future the Government must introduce new policy tools able to
                                                                                             10
guarantee employment opportunities for women in proportion to their unemployment rate .

In terms of actions taken, the main progress achieved is in the following areas:

i)         the monitoring of labour market policies has improved in general (by improving statistical
           information) and with respect to gender monitoring (on the gender impact of flexibility measures,
           on female entrepreneurship, and on female participation in actions financed through ESF);
ii)        the presence and potential action of EO advisors (in Employment Centres, network of parity
           advisors, etc.) is reinforced, though some obstacles prevent the putting into operation of the
           regulations/law);
iii)       knowledge about gender issues is spreading: a research project on “gender wage gap” has
           recently carried out); a new “National Plan for EO and female employment” has been very
           recently prepared (by the Ministry of Equal Opportunities) for the planning of future actions;
iv)        the links between strategies for the development of the Mezzogiorno and gender mainstreaming
           have been strengthened (in particular, the QCS 2000-2006 states that 10% of ESF should be
           devoted additionally to the promotion of EO);
v)         some additional changes have been made to the new regulations on part-time work, but the
           norms safeguarding part-timers have been kept;
vi)        the new law on the organisation of personal care and community services (law on “assistenza”)
           has recently been enacted by Parliament;
vii)       the decree required to implement the provision on the modernisation of work organisation
           (aimed at favouring reconciliation) has been passed (with a budget of 40 billions for 2000-01)
viii)      the planning and implementation of the reform of EPS is being carried out, taking account of
           gender issues.

2.3       The responses to the Council Recommendations (in 2000 and 2001 NAPs)

For an overall evaluation of the progress made which takes account of the weakest areas of action, it
is crucial to consider the responses to the Council Recommendations (CRs) with relevance to gender
equality (summarised in table 4). Column one in the table quotes directly from official publications,
numbering the recommendations as originally made by the Council.

The Council’s recommendations to Italy for the 2000 NAP (see table 4, first box to the left) focussed
primarily on general issues: the reform of employment services (CR 1); the reform of the pensions and
other benefits system (CR 4); the upgrading of the statistical monitoring system, still inadequate for a
preventive approach and an evaluation of policies (CR 6); the need to alleviate the excessive
administrative and fiscal burdens (on companies, CR 2, and on labour, CR 3).


10
       See the 2001 NAP (Pillar 4, pp. 28 and 29).

                                                                                                         12
Table 4 – Synthesis of the responses to the Council Recommendations in 2000 and 2001 NAPs

                         Recommendations                                                   Responses

 NAP 1. Take decisive, coherent and measurable action to             1. Partially met: the reform of PES and the Employment
           prevent young and adult unemployed people from               Information System continued, but was considered
 2000      drifting into long-term unemployment. In particular …        “insufficient”. Progress continues but the full
           complete the reform of employment services, to               implementation of the preventive measures for youth
           implement preventive policies in compliance with             and long-term unemployment and of the PES will be
           guidelines 1 and 2, and to improve the quality of            operational by 2003.
           vocational training. Efforts to upgrade the statistical
           monitoring system should be pursued … .                   2. Partially met: firms’ administrative procedures were
                                                                        simplified through the introduction of the single counter
        2. Adopt and implement coherent strategies,                     (which is however far from reaching complete territorial
           encompassing regulatory, fiscal and other measures,          coverage); measures were taken to create jobs in the
           designed to alleviate the administrative burden on           cultural and environmental sectors.
           companies, to stimulate entrepreneurship and exploit
           the job creation potential of the service sector.         3. The fiscal and contribution reductions introduced in
                                                                        1998-99 were pursued, though to a lesser degree.
        3. Pursue current reform efforts designed to shift away
           the tax burden from labour to other tax bases.            4. The reform of the unemployment benefit system (due
                                                                        in 1999) was postponed to 2001; a further revision of
        4. Continue the implementation of the reform of pension         the pension system is expected to be undertaken by
           and other benefit systems in order to reduce the             2001.
           outflow from the labour market into pensions and
           other.                                                    5. “Actions to promote gender mainstreaming in all pillars
                                                                        were taken. However, the process of gender
        5. Adopt comprehensive policies in order to address             mainstreaming is still in its preparatory phase. Female
           gender gaps in employment and unemployment, inter            employment is expected to grow, especially through
           alia by building on existing specific initiatives. Gender    the increasing use of part-time and flexible contracts.
           policies should also be mainstreamed under all the           Attention was paid to the extension of care, nursery
           pillars of the NAP.                                          and supplementary services and to the introduction of
                                                                        parental leave. Further concrete steps are needed to
        6. Pursue efforts to upgrade the statistical monitoring         fully address the wide gender gaps, as recognised by
           system, so that policy indicators … will be provided by      the NAP itself.”
           2000 … .
                                                                     6. Indicators allowing for the effective monitoring of
                                                                        preventive policies have not been supplied in
                                                                        accordance with the commonly agreed methodology.

 NAP 1. Continue to improve the balance in the policy mix           1. The policy mix across all four pillars was improved, but
           across all four pillars, by further strengthening           some imbalances persist.
 2001      employability policies, … developing a comprehensive
           strategy for equal opportunities and continuing gender 2. Partially met: no new changes were announced
           mainstreaming efforts;                                      concerning the reform of pensions. Efforts to reduce
                                                                       the tax burden continued to be pursued and
        2. Continue the implementation of the reform of pensions       strengthened. Efforts for the emergence (and
           through the review planned for 2001 … and further           regularisation) of hidden employment (irregular or
           continue efforts to reduce the tax burden, especially on    illegal) have been pursued through the “hiring with tax
           low-paid workers;                                           credit” provision; this measure was ineffective to
                                                                       readdress gender imbalances in employment.
        3. … take further action to prevent the inflow of young
           and adult unemployed people into long-term               3. Partly met: the implementation of the PES reform is in
           unemployment. … full implementation of the PES              progress; gender issues are explicitly considered in the
           reform across the country, speeding up the                  planning of the new Employment Services; one
           introduction of the Employment Information System           measure specifically planned to prevent the inflow of
           and continuation of current efforts to upgrade the          female unemployment into long-term unemployment
           statistical monitoring system;                              has been enacted.
        4. Pursue active labour market policies and implement        4. Some efforts in the direction of pursuing active labour
           specific measures to narrow the wide gender gaps in          market policies are noticeable, but these policies
           employment and unemployment, with the aim of                 continue to be marginal. Specific measures to narrow
           providing women with more and better job                     the wide gender gaps have not yet been implemented.
           opportunities;
                                                                     5. Some efforts have been made, but lifelong learning
        5. Adopt and implement a coherent strategy on lifelong          continues to be deficient.
           learning, …; social partners should be more active in
           providing more training opportunities for the work
           force.
Source: Council Recommendations for the 2000 NAP, in Council (2000, Annex); Responses to 2000 C.R., in Council
        and Commission, J.E.R. (2000, September, pp. 128-9); Council Recommendations for the 2001 NAP, in
        Council (2001b, Annex, L 22/33).



                                                                                                                       13
The idea behind these recommendations is that the Italian regulatory system is too rigid and unable to
deal with current employment problems; it should evolve (a) to promote active policies (based on an
efficient monitoring system) and (b) to allow a prompt response on both the demand side and the
supply side, in order to increase employment. The Council’s hypothesis is that the “modernisation” of
the Italian regulatory system will benefit all, men and women. In this respect, the Council
recommendations are all (indirectly) relevant for women.

The recommendations, when implemented, could have an impact differentiated by gender, in the
absence of any gender mainstreaming. In fact, as pointed out (in CR 5), it is stated that “gender
policies should be mainstreamed under all the pillars”. This implies that mainstreaming is still lacking in
Italy. Moreover, it is stressed that Italy should adopt comprehensive policies to reduce the wide gender
gaps in employment and unemployment.

The responses of Italy to the recommendations (as incorporated into the 2000 NAP) are summarised
in table 4 (column two). Overall, the recommendations were partly met, including gender
                                                                                       11
mainstraming. However, the actions taken in this respect represent a first initial step .

The Council Recommendations to Italy for the 2001 NAP (see table 4, column one) are summarised
by the Council itself in the following sentence:
         “After due analysis, it appears that further efforts are required in response to the employment
         guidelines and recommendations concerning: the policy mix across the four pillars; tax and benefit
         systems; activation and prevention; gender mainstreaming and gender gaps; and lifelong learning.”
         (Council, 2001b, Annex, L 22/33)
This analysis has led the Council to make five recommendations (see table 4, column 1). Two of the
five (that is, CR 1 and CR 5), explicitly mention gender mainstreaming and gender gaps;
recommendations 2 and 3 are concerned with two categories where women are over-represented
(long-term unemployment and low-paid workers); recommendation 4 is about life-long learning (a
lacking strategy for all employed people). Therefore, I would say that all recommendations in 2001
were relevant to gender equality.

The responses of Italy to these five recommendations are summarised in table 4 (column 2). Some
additional comments, relevant for gender analysis, are presented here in sequence.

CR 1: The policy mix across all four pillars was improved, but some imbalances persist. (For some
specific considerations on these imbalances see section 3, here below).

CR 2: This recommendation was partly met. The 1995 reform of pension continued to be implemented
(progressively increasing the average retirement age); no new changes were announced in the NAP.
Efforts to reduce the tax burden continued to be pursued and strengthened; at the same time, efforts
for the emergence (and regularisation) of hidden employment (irregular or illegal) have been pursued
through the “hiring with tax credit” scheme (see 2001 NAP, section 1.2.2). This measure, introduced at
the end of 1997 and subsequently modified, has had a significant impact (in depressed areas) but no
data are provided by gender. There is a passage, in Pillar 4, which states that this measure (like
others) did not help to readdress the balance towards female employment. No action is proposed to
correct it to favour female employment.

CR 3: The 2001 NAP does not present specific measures to prevent the inflow of young and adult
unemployed people into long-term unemployment (where women are over-represented). The efforts
undertaken have focussed primarily on the implementation of the PES reform across the country and
the general reform of education and training systems. These are important structural reforms (a
necessary precondition for any active policy). The carrying out of the PES reform is a long term


11
     See Villa P., Bonetti S. (2000a) and J.E.R. (2000, pp. 128-9).

                                                                                                              14
project, which will produce some results only in the long run. Its implementation has further advanced
in the direction of modernising the whole system in order to facilitate the matching between jobs and
workers and thereby reduce unemployment spells; at the same time, increasing efforts have been
                                                                                           rd
made to upgrade the statistical monitoring system of labour market policies (the 3 report on
Monitoring is due by the Ministry of Labour).

From a gender perspective, one has to consider on the positive side that the issue of mainstreaming
and equal opportunities has been acknowledged by providing PES with personnel with specific
knowledge on EO and by organising (within each “Employment Centre”, CPI) specific services for
women; moreover, for the first time, one measure, specifically planned to prevent the inflow of female
unemployment into long-term unemployment, has been enacted (but not yet implemented). On the
negative side, one must say that the entire reform of education and training has been planned with no
attention to gender issues. This is particularly evident (and dangerous) in the proposals concerned
with IT issues (information society) (2001 NAP, section 2.2).

CR 4: The 2001 NAP shows some efforts in the direction of pursuing active labour market policies, but
these policies continue to be relatively marginal. This is explained by the fact that the main efforts
undertaken by Italy at the present time are towards the construction of the necessary preconditions for
active policies (see above, CR 3). When the new PES, reform of the training system and the setting up
of a monitoring system have been fully implemented, it will be possible for Italy to implement specific
and more effective ‘active labour market policies’. These three general strategies (PES, training,
monitoring) are very important from a gender perspective as they will allow – if matched with gender
mainstreaming – the implementation and the evaluation of specific measures for female labour. But for
the time being specific measures to narrow the wide gender gaps in employment and unemployment
have not yet been implemented.

CR 5: Some efforts have been made, but lifelong learning (particularly in terms of on-the-job training)
continues to be deficient. The 2001 NAP does not provide data on trainees, apart from CFL (Contratti
di Formazione e Lavoro) and apprentice contracts; as is well known, on-the-job training is lacking in
Italy and women tend to receive less training than men. Moreover, both CFL and apprenticeship
contracts continue to mirror the existing employment structure (rather than the unemployment
structure, where women are over-represented).


3. RESPONSE TO THE HORIZONTAL OBJECTIVES (in the 2001 NAP)

The 2001 NAP, according to the outline proposed by the Council to Member States, had to consider
five horizontal objectives. The first concerned full employment, identified in terms of the attainment of
what was agreed by Member States in the Lisbon Council (help in Spring 2000): an overall
employment rate of 70%, 60% for women.

The Lisbon employment targets are considered and discussed in the 2001 NAP. It is argued that it will
not be possible for Italy to achieve the Lisbon targets by 2010, given the current large gaps. With
respect to the female employment rate, the Lisbon gap is too wide (20 percentage points) to be closed
in ten years time, even though recent trends have shown that significant improvements may be
achieved in the future. It is stated that for a country like Italy, with pronounced regional disparities, the
critical issue is improvement in the employment performance of the Mezzogiorno. To move towards
Lisbon targets will depend on whether it is possible to develop special strategies specifically oriented
towards regional imbalances (2001 NAP, p. ii). It is stressed that this will require not only the constant
effort of all Member States with severe regional employment problems, but also careful reflection on
new community actions. This position seems to imply that despite the increasing efforts made by the
Italian Government in recent years (with the goal of fostering the development of the Mezzogiorno),

                                                                                                          15
what has been done will not be sufficient to solve existing structural problems. Therefore new ideas
and new strategies should be proposed by the Union.

The point missing from this analysis is that to close the 20 points gap in the female employment rate,
specific measures focused on women in the Mezzogiorno are urgently needed. Given the structural
disadvantage suffered by southern women, it will not be sufficient to foster the development of the
Mezzogiorno to close the 35 points gap in their female employment rate (with respect to the 60%
target).

With respect to the horizontal objective concerning the balance in the policy mix, some efforts have
been taken to improve it, even though some imbalances persist. In particular, Pillar one remains the
most important of the four in terms of efforts, total expenditure and measurable outcomes. From a
gender perspective, the 2001 NAP has lights and shadows in developing an integrated policy mix.

On the positive side, employability policies have been strengthened (through the general reforms of
PES, training, etc.), building the foundations for gender specific policies (based on the structure of
unemployment); gender mainstreaming efforts have been pursued further, particularly by improving
the monitoring instruments for evaluation of the impact of policies on women; moreover, some efforts
have been made to develop a comprehensive strategy for equal opportunities; in the public sector,
new initiatives have been taken to favour more flexible working arrangements and career development
for women.

On the negative side, although efforts to develop a strategy for EO are visible in the NAP, these are
more in terms of analysis (or proposal of general policies) than in terms of specific measures. Some
further changes in work organisation (modifying the regulatory framework) have been introduced (in
Pillar three), but not in the direction of family-friendly flexibility. In the private sector, flexible working
time arrangements (meeting the needs of employees with family responsibilities) can be introduced
through collective bargaining, but no significant progress is recorded. Moreover, apart from the law on
parental leave (enacted in 2000) no new steps towards reconciliation are acknowledged in the 2001
NAP.

No significant progress (from a gender perspective) is acknowledged with respect to the other
horizontal objectives: lifelong learning; partnership with social partners; and the development of
common indicators and the identification of good practice.


4. GENDER MAINSTREAMING, MONITORING AND EVALUATION [1998-2001]

4.1 Gender Mainstraming (including monitoring, evaluation and gender targets)

The Italian NAPs fall short of adopting a gender mainstreaming approach, even if considerable
progress has been made. References to gender issues are made under all pillars in the 2000 and
2001 NAPs, whereas issues regarding equal opportunities between women and men were confined to
a few scattered lines in the 1998 NAP and to the text under the fourth pillar in the 1999 NAP.

The 2001 Italian NAP still does not integrate gender issues in all policies, although it shows significant
progress with respect to the previous NAPs, due to references made under all pillars to women’s
particular difficulties. Although the Italian NAPs cannot be evaluated positively from a gender
mainstreaming point of view, it should be acknowledged that considerable progress has been made
(as summarised in table 3):
• awareness of gender issues (developed in terms of perception of the failure of existing policies to
  tackle employment/unemployment gaps) is spreading;
• significant improvements have been achieved in the monitoring and evaluation of policies;


                                                                                                            16
• for the first time, institutional mechanisms for gender mainstreaming have been announced in the
  2001 NAP.
As stated in the 2000 NAP, the Italian Government has to date fostered equal opportunities in the
labour market in only piecemeal fashion. Noteworthy was the declared intention to approve a plan for
EO which should enable transition from an experimental strategy to a large-scale approach (2000
NAP, p. 28). This intention was re-affirmed in the 2001 NAP, but unfortunately the National Plan on
                                                                                      th
EO in Employment was not delivered before the political elections (on the 13 of May). And it is
difficult to say what will happen to this Plan with the change in the coalition in power.

The low starting point still affects the present conditions of women in the labour market. The most
innovative measures regarding equal opportunities are, to some extent, the transposition into Italian
law of either European Commission recommendations or directives; nonetheless, some innovations
have been enacted which go beyond European directives (this is the case of legislation on night work,
parental leave and part-time work). To conclude, the Italian political institutions are endeavouring to
tackle women’s specific labour market problems while taking account of Italy’s distinctive features, in
order to promote equal opportunities in the concrete national context. The declared intentions are to
be followed by more concrete measures to foster female participation in the labour market.

4.2 Employability

In the 1998 NAP most of the emphasis was on pillar one (“improving employability”), which alone
occupied almost half of the document (1998 NAP, pp. 15-29). This implied, on the one hand, a careful
analysis of the problems involved with respect to “employability” and a large variety of new measures
implemented; on the other hand, scarce attention was paid to pillars two and three, snd insufficient
attention to pillar four. None of the policies included under pillar one took account of gender impact in
their design; moreover, all policies were discussed as if they were gender neutral. Most of the
important innovations presented in the 1998 NAP had been introduced through the so called “Treu-
package” (a government bill enacted in Summer 1997). This law contained several employment-
promotion measures, aiming to expand and regulate atypical forms of work. It concerned a range of
legal measures to introduce temporary work (lavoro interinale), to reform certain atypical contracts
(apprenticeship contracts, work-training contracts), to standardise the regulation of in-company work
experience, and to reform the regulation of vocational training (Villa, 1998, pp. 9-10). This government
bill was a long and complex document - certainly the most important law enacted during the Prodi
Government concerning labour policies - introducing significant changes in labour market regulation.
Neither the new measures nor the 1998 NAP considered the possible negative impact on women. In
fact, not even the data provided on the number of workers involved were made available by sex.

Since 1998, the main efforts in terms of employability have been addressed at reform of the public
employment services (and the devolution of services to the Regions), as well as reform of the
employment information system. The process has advanced, even though a lot of what has been done
still involves the production of documents (more than the supply of services). These reforms have
progressed in parallel with the general reform of the educational system. It is certainly important to
point out that the reform of PES has taken into account in design the need to produce specific services
to unemployed women. This is certainly a novelty for the Italian system. When the reform is
implemented, there will be real possibilities to put forward active labour market policies specifically
focused on women.

At present, most of the policies implemented to foster employment are planned in gender neutral
terms; moreover, they are based on automatic incentives to firms. The most successful measures
included in Pillar one in order to expand employment opportunities are those listed under “individuals
entering the labour market with mixed-cause contracts” (item F) and “incentive-supported hiring of

                                                                                                      17
workers” (item G), as shown in table 5. These two groups of measures account for about 68% of the
total representing the bulk of what in the Italian NAPs is classified under “active employment policies”.
Some adjustments to the ‘old’ measures have been made, experimentation with a new apprenticeship
scheme has been started, new measures have been introduced (such as ‘hiring with tax credit’), but
the basic features have not changed.

Table 5 – A concise evaluation of the mean stock of persons benefiting from various active
          policy measures in 1999 and 2000 (‘000 and %F)
                                                   1999                                       2000
                                         M          F        MF          %F         M          F        MF         %F
(F) individuals entering the labour market with mixed-cause contracts:
- work training contracts (CFL)      243,3      129,0      372,3         34,6   206,9      109,2      316,1       34,5
- apprenticeship                     228,2      151,7      379,9         39,9   261,8      173,9      435,7       39,9
           Subtotal                  471,5      280,7      752,2                468,7      283,1      751,8
(G) incentive supported hiring for workers:
 - long-term U and workers            131,2     118,5      249,7         47,5   156,0      137,4      293,4       46,8
   with laid-off allowances
 - workers under mobility              39,1      33,7       72,8         46,3    44,5       35,9       80,4       44,7
   schemes
             Subtotal                 170,3     152,2      322,5                200,5      173,3      373,8
(A+B+C+D+E)                             na         na      498,6                   na         na      535,0
(F+G)/(A+B+C+D+E+F+G) %                                     68,3                                    67,8
Note: (A+B+C+D+E+F+G) = persons who benefited by ‘active’ employment policies (in thousands of units);
      (A+B+C+D+E) = training programs, education of unemployed adults, work experiences, regional active policy initiatives.
Source: 2000 NAP (table 2, p. 14); 2001 NAP (table 3, p. 12).


These policies are based for the most part on automatic employment incentives granted to firms hiring
(a) first job-seekers (in particular, work training contracts and apprenticeship), and (b) those who have
lost a previous job (at certain conditions). Automatic incentives cannot contribute to reduce gender
gaps in employment/unemployment rates, as prejudices of labour demand are left unchanged. In fact,
the share of women benefiting from these policies continues to be approximately equal to the share of
women in employment (instead of being proportional to the share of women in unemployment, as
recommended by the Commission).

4.3 Entrepreneurship

Small firms play an important role in Italy. Among other measures to promote female employment,
initiatives have been undertaken to foster female entrepreneurship. Italy was one of the first countries
to introduce a specific law on female entrepreneurship (L. 215 enacted in 1992). This was welcome as
an innovative law, a potential important tool for improving the position of women in the labour market.
Unfortunately, it proved to be “ineffective” for many years, as it suffered from limitations that prevented
its effective implementation.

The 1998 NAP presented this law as an important policy tool for gender equality but (i) it did not
provide any quantitative estimate of its direct impact; (ii) it did not say clearly what the obstacles were
that prevented achievement of the expected results; (iii) it did not say what the government intended to
do to overcome existing limitations.

Since 1998, efforts have been made to improve the legislation on female entrepreneurship, to monitor
its implementation and to provide additional services to applicants. The 1999 NAP supplied statistical
information on the implementation of the law. It was acknowledged that some limitations prevented fts
full implementation, such as (i) lack of suitable information and focused assistance services for
applicants, (ii) insufficient funds; (iii) too complex procedures. At the same time, the following initiatives
were announced in order to overcome current deficits:


                                                                                                                           18
- the start up of a multimedia information campaign and a free-phone service for applicants;
- the setting up of an Observatory for the monitoring of female entrepreneurship and the
   implementation of the law;
 - the refunding of the law for 1999 (with a 25% increase) and the enactment of a new regulation of
   enforcement (to streamline procedures).
The 2000 and 2001 NAPs strengthened existing legislation with the enactment, first, and the
                                                                                         12
implementation afterwards, of a new provision (included in the “Bersani package”) which provides
financial incentives for new enterprises with predominant female participation (70%). In November
2000, the new regulations implementing the law (L. 215/1992) were issued. This strengthened the
links between female entrepreneurship and local development, along with the reinforcement of the role
played by Regions. At the same time, the Regions decided to contribute to increase the overall budget
with an additional 100 billion (to the 400 billion of the national budget) (2001 NAP, p. 20).

The total number of projects submitted, as well as the number of those passing the screening, and of
those finally financed increased through time. Detailed statistical information of the female
entrepreneurship (and the implementation of the law) are not included in the 2001 NAP; nevertheless
it is pointed out that the increase in entrepreneurship has been greater for women, with respect to
men, throughout the period 1998-2001 (January).

Other positive signals come from data on the implementation of the “honour loan” scheme. This
scheme (in force since 1998) was introduced in order to develop entrepreneurship as a source of
employment in southern areas. The provision is based on funds allocated to the financing of individual
projects (with a zero interest rate loan by the state) and on training courses. Gender was not taken
into account in the design of this scheme; nevertheless the share of female applicants progressively
increased. The number of women applicants is significantly less than that of men, but a positive trend
in the quality and quantity of women’s applications has been noted by the Observatory on female
entrepreneurship. The female share in applications admitted to training courses increased from 28.2%
                                                                      13
in 1996 to 36.6% in November 2000 (2001 NAP, p. 20) .

4.4 Adaptability

Adaptability in the NAPs (1998-2001) appears to be ‘one direction’ concept. Workers have to adapt to
the needs of flexibility that enterprises want to satisfy in order to be competitive in their product
markets. Since the mid-‘80s, employment regulations have been modified to allow for more flexible
forms of contractual arrangements (including fixed-term contracts, temporary work and PT work).

The issue of working time flexibility is left to decentralised bargaining where, through collective
agreements, social partners can bargain for friendly flexible arrangements. Evidence on the content of
collective agreements reveals that any recognition of the gender issues related to working time and
flexibility measures is absent. Almost all initiatives taken with respect to working time are related to the
full utilisation of productive capacity (not to the needs of employees with family responsibilities), as
acknowledged also by the 2001 NAP (p. 25).

As already argued, women are over-represented in atypical employment and they benefit less than
men from the tendency to transform unstable-atypical contracts into stable-standard ones. This critical
issue has been acknowledged in the two last NAPs. Concrete measures to reduce the risk for women

12
     Law 140/1999 “Norme in materia di attività produttive”, art. 13 (Agevolazioni per le imprese a prevalente partecipazione
     femminile”), enacted the 29th of April 1999.
13
     The share of women entrepreneurs is 30%. See 2001 NAP (Tab. 6, p. 21) for data on the “honour loan” scheme.

                                                                                                                                19
of being trapped in atypical jobs have not yet been taken; nevertheless the recent legislation on part-
time work is welcome as it moves in that direction. For this reason, I will briefly discuss it.

Part-time work. Part-time work is not widespread in Italy, compared with the majority of European
countries, even though part-timers are mostly women. The low share of part-time work (see table 6) is
partly explained by the fact that until the mid-‘80s part-time work was unknown among employees, in
that it was not regulated by law. The first law on part-time work was enacted in 1984 and it included
some rigid clauses in the part-time work scheme. Moreover, it was allowed - through collective
bargaining – to introduce thresholds in the total amount of part-time work within each enterprise. In
1997, contribution-related incentives for the utilisation of part-time employment were introduced,
together with other provisions (L. 196/1997). Since then, several actions have been taken in order to
favour the expansion of part-time work with the explicit goal of fostering female employment.

Table 6 – Part-time work (% of total employment)
                                              1995                                   2000                    ITALY MF
                                          F                M Italy               F                M Italy 1995 2000
                             North-   Mezzo-      Italy              North -   Mezzo-     Italy
                             Centre   giorno                         Centre    giorno
PT, total                     13.6        9.6     12.7       2.9      17.4      13.3      16.5       3.7      6.3     8.4
of which: involuntary          4.0        5.1      4.2       1.3       4.6       7.0       5.1       1.7      2.3     2.9
PT, employees                 10.0        6.9        9.3     1.6      13.6      10.6      13.1       2.5      4.3     6.3
- permanent PT                 7.8        2.5        6.6     0.7      10.7       4.1       9.3       1.0      2.8     4.0
- fixed-term PT                2.2        4.4        2.7     0.9       2.9       6.5       3.8       1.5      1.5     2.3
PT, self-employed               3.7       2.7        3.5     1.2       3.7       2.7        3.5      1.2      2.0     2.1
Source: Istat, Labour Force Survey (in 2001 NAP, Statistical Appendix, tab. 7)

The 1999 NAP announced an inter-ministerial decree of the Ministry of Labour providing for 10%
reductions in social security contributions for part-time contracts, higher reductions in case of contracts
providing for personnel increases and the transformation of full-time contracts in part-time contracts.
The measures announced were later modified and finally enacted. The 2000 Finance Act (L.
488/1999, art. 20) issued provisions for encouraging both net increases in employment (with PT
contracts) and the transformation of full-time contracts into PT ones. Law Decree no. 61/2000 (which
implements the European Directive 97/81/CE on PT work) introduced some innovative clauses aimed
at safeguarding part-timers (hence women) with respect to potential risks associated with part-time
work. Subsequently, further administrative and procedural measures have been enacted to promote
the use of PT work (by relaxing some of the pre-existing rigid clauses) and to provide part-timers with
the necessary ‘protective’ norms.

The recently enacted legislation, which brings Italian rules into line with the EC directive on part-time,
is a means both to enhance the competitiveness of the productive system and improve the quality of
                       14
life of part-timers . The new legislation (D.Lgs 61/2000 and D.Lgs. 100/2001), which entirely replaces
the previous one (L. 863/1984, art. 5), is based on two key concepts: flexibility and protection. The
reform of part-time employment not only incorporates the content of the 97/81/EC directives but
includes a comprehensive re-formulation of the previous regulations and attempts to meet the


14
     The notes annexed to the new Act on part-time work state the intention of monitoring the effects of the new provisions on
     child-care activities: that is, whether the law impacts positively in promoting a cyclical working life pattern for either the
     mother or the father of small children, or whether it is instead used as a chance to find a second job, for instance by starting
     up as a freelance while getting by on a steady, albeit low, income.

                                                                                                                                   20
requirements connected with both the organisational elasticity of the enterprises and the workers
protection. The main points of the new law can be summarised as follows:
i) horizontal PT, vertical PT and ‘mixed PT (a combination of horizontal/vertical) are allowed by law;
ii) enterprises are permitted to use supplementary work and to change the schedule of work shifts on
     prior stipulation of a pact with the worker;
iii) the working of supplementary hours is subordinate to the workers’ consent;
iv) with respect to the possibility of changing work shifts, the law recognises a worker’s “right to a
     change of mind” for 'subjective' reasons; this entitles the worker to return to the previously
     established working hours (that cannot be unilaterally changed by the employer);
v) the law clearly states a non-discriminatory principle for part-timers: a PT worker cannot suffer de
     jure segregation in pay (hourly earnings), social security provisions and benefits and career
     development;
vi) within each enterprise, PT workers have precedence over others in case of new FT contracts;
     similarly, FT workers must be informed when new PT contracts are available (in order to transform
     their FT contract into a PT ones).
Some of the clauses included in the Italian legislation on PT work are not completely innovative.
Nevertheless, they are certainly important for women entering PT work in Italy, given the possible
future expansion of this type of employment. The reform of part-time work can be depicted as a good
combination of norms allowing some organisational flexibility for enterprises, with norms allowing
workers to accept/refuse requests for working time flexibility (supplementary work, change of work
shifts), and with the statement of the principle of non-discrimination.

Finally, it is of interest that the 2000 Finance Act (L. 488/1999 art. 20) allows considerable
contribution-related relief (600 billions in three years) modulated in relation to the duration of the PT
work in order to favour ‘long’ PT (7% for 20-24 working hours; 10% for 25-28, 13% for 29-32), and
intended for the hiring of PT workers on permanent contracts on or before December 31, 2000 and for
an increase in the current staffing (2000 NAP, p. 24).


5. GENDER EQUALITY (and gender equality measures) [1998-2001]

5.1   Gender equality measures

Four gender equality measures were presented in the 1998 NAP: two of them referred to two laws
enacted in the early ‘90s (L. 125/1991 and L. 215/1992); the other two were draft laws for the
implementation of European Directives (on night work and parental leave). At the end of the period
considered, the two laws of the early ‘90s were modified and strengthened; the two draft laws were
enlarged in content (including some innovative provisions) and finally ratified into laws; moreover, new
measures concerning other issues had been put forward. The information summarised in table 3 (pp.
9-10) shows that the issues on which the attention was focused in order to promote gender equality
were the following:
• strengthening the institutional role of the network of Parity Advisors (PAs);
• favouring reconciliation;
• improving the economic conditions of low income mothers and low income families with children
  (and/or dependants);
• improving the organisation of personal care and community services;
• developing an overall strategy in order to close gender gaps in employment and unemployment also
  through the planning of specific actions.
In most cases, a long time required for a proposal to be enacted and to produce measurable results.
For this reason, I will not present a year by year discussion of gender equality measures, rather I will
briefly discuss the most interesting ones.


                                                                                                      21
Strengthening the institutional role of the network of Parity Advisors. Law 125/1991 established
a network of PAs to promote equal opportunities. The implementation of this law was evaluated and
harshly criticised by the Smuraglia Parliamentary Commission, which called for adjustments in the law
in order to remove the obstacles preventing its full implementation. Parity Advisers had very few
powers and lacked financial resources. Their ability to act according to the targets established by law
was extremely limited. Proposals for change have been put forward since 1999 in order to remove
many of those obstacles, thus enabling PAs to fulfil their duties.

The bill on PAs was finally approved in July 2000 (D. Lgs. 196/2000). PAs acting at both the national
and local levels will have not only the right (which they already had) but also the financial resources to
start legal cases when gender discrimination issues arise. Before choosing to bring cases to court, the
Advisers will be able to request a plan for removal of the discrimination. The law assigns the following
tasks to the national and local Parity Advisers: the promotion of positive actions, the evaluation of
active labour policy from a gender perspective, verification of the coherence of policies for local
territorial development. Moreover, the bill states that Advisers are, by law, members of the Central
Commission for Employment and of the local tripartite Commissions. They also take part in local
concertation and local inspection committees.

When fully implemented, the new norms on PAs will impact positively on equal opportunities between
women and men by removing the obstacles against de facto equality in the labour market.
Unfortunately, this important result continue to be a ‘achievement on paper’: the funds set by law have
not yet been made available. The slowness of the bureaucratic process required for the
implementation of the law (the decrees required at the regional level have not yet been enacted) and a
lack of political will to solve existing problems are delaying implementation of this important provision.

Favouring reconciliation (family-friendly measures). As pointed out in many publications, an
unequal division of care responsibilities is characteristic of Italian families. The social and economic
value of care-taking activities by women is far from being fully recognised and supported. In Italy
crèches and kindergartens are sorely lacking, waiting lists are very long (from 6 up to 18 months) and
there are no flexible arrangements in opening hours. Crèches at workplaces are rare exceptions.
Worsening the situation further is the fact that care services for the elderly are markedly inadequate,
particularly as regards non self-reliant persons, which creates difficulties for their working relatives
(mothers, wives, daughters, etc.).

To solve these urgent problems two laws have been recently enacted.

(i) Transposition of the EC directive on night work gives women, too, the right to work at night but adds
                                                                                               15
a family-friendly provision for the parents of small children. The recent Act on Night Work ensures
the protection of mothers and fathers of small children, favouring not only equal opportunities between
women and men in the labour market but also the equal sharing of childcare responsibilities at home.
In fact, it gives the mothers and fathers of small children (aged up to three years) the right to refuse
night shifts.

(ii) The recent Act on Parental Leave (L. 53, March 2000) goes far beyond simple transposition of the
EC directive. It is highly innovative in its expected effects on the Italian labour market because it
includes most of the principles recommended by the European Commission as regards employment
policies. Not only does it revise the legislation on parental leave but it deals with life-long learning
allowances, working time flexibility issues and the extension of the typically Italian good practices of
hours banks and the City Clock approach to local municipalities.


15
     See L. 25/1999, art. 17, for the transposition of the EC directive on night work; see D. Lgs. 532, November 1999 for its
     implementation.

                                                                                                                                22
The revision of parental leave is gender mainstreamed, since it induces fathers to take up their part of
allowance by raising the total leave period attributed to the household when it is distributed on a more
equal basis between husband and wife. Allowances are granted to both parents during the first eight
years of the child’s life. The Act has attributed a leave period as an individual right to the mother and
father as in other member-countries.

Life-long learning is favoured by granting employees the right to take unpaid (divided or continuous)
leave for up to one year during their working lives, provided that the applicant has already worked for a
period of at least five years. Persons taking unpaid leave may ask for payments in advance out of their
public or private retirement insurance and are entitled to reintegrate their pension income by
protracting their working life beyond the compulsory age limit. This provision aims to foster life-long
learning in order to endow the economy with a more productive labour force and to update the skills of
parents who have taken up parental allowances (for the most part women), thereby lowering the risk
of de facto vertical segregation. Family-friendly and life-long learning flexibility is promoted by granting
financial incentives to employers who sign contracts aimed at these two targets.

Municipalities are due to prepare a plan to coordinate the timetables of shops, public services,
suburban public administration offices and to promote the use of time for social solidarity targets. The
plan should be drawn up by the mayor or by an expert appointed to the task in large municipalities,
and it should be discussed through collective bargaining involving the social partners in accordance
with the concertation system.

Overall, the draft of the plan is highly complicated, and the financial resources appropriated by the
government are very limited. Consequently, only the best plans will be funded. If not revised, this part
of the act is expected to have very minor quantitative effects without any significant impact on
women’s lives. By contrast, hours banks have already proved to facilitate working women duties, so
that a positive effect is more easily predictable.

Improving the economic conditions of low income mothers/families with children (and
dependants). Small but noteworthy adjustments were made throughout 1998-2001 to taxation,
benefits and social contributions, in order to lessen the burden on low income families. Since it is not
possible to present an overall assessment, I will signal some provisions enacted in this direction in
recent years.

In 1999 the Government defined new goals and guidelines to foster equity and solidarity. A set of
instruments to support personal and family income, as well as measures to provide them with
services, were included in the budget law. The programme, financed by an amount of 983 billion lire
for the year 2000, was managed by the Ministry of Social Solidarity.

Maternity benefit for mothers on very low incomes and enjoying no other social security benefits was
raised from 200,000 to 300,000 lire per month (equivalent to 100-150 euros) for a period of five
months. Although this sum of money is small, one should bear in mind its symbolical value and the
government’s financial constraints due to an intractable public debt. The maternity benefit for those
already receiving other types of benefit has been raised to a minimum of 3,000,000 lire (equivalent to
1,500 euros) per year.

Other noteworthy provisions (also included in the 2000 budget law) are reduced taxation on payments
to separated or divorced spouses, which has improved the living conditions of divorced women and
their children, and lower taxation on households with children or on low incomes.

Finally, to be noted is the legislation on social services. Some adjustments have been introduced in
order to favour the regular employment of persons appointed to either care tasks or socially useful
work (in particular, the social contributions paid for the employment of these workers can be deducted


                                                                                                         23
from taxable income). Social co-operatives helping the elderly, the disabled or other categories, as
well as private families in need of care-takers, may take an advantage of these facilities. In addition,
these provisions have the positive effect of inducing unregistered workers to ask to be registered and
thus receive a minimum level of social protection. Needless to say, these unregistered workers are for
the most part women.

Improving the organisation of personal care and community services. The 2000 NAP announced
that the Parliament was discussing a law to set up a welfare system designed to guarantee the social
rights of citizens, define the resources to be allocated to social policies, basic services standards, and
finally the institutional set up for dealing with territorial differences and reducing unfair differences in
the supply of services (2000 NAP, p. 13). This law (“Legge sull’Assistenza”) was later enacted (and it
                                                                        16
should be presented at length in the NAP on social inclusion) . The predictable impact of these
measures on easing women’s care duties is positive, although it is impossible to state when this policy
will be implemented and whether or not it will be far-reaching.

Developing an overall strategy. The increasing awareness about the difficulties women meet in the
labour market and the inadequacies of traditional policies to reduce employment/unemployment
gender gaps have induced the Government (headed by Amato) to commit itself to the approval of a
National Plan for EO in Employment. Unfortunately, this was not issued on time. The change in the
coalition ruling the country makes it impossible to predict what the future Government (headed by
Berlusconi) will do to promote EO.

5.2      Priority attached to gender equality

The 1998 NAP was unsatisfactory, both in terms of content (policies and measures put forward) and in
terms of presentation. In fact, it was severely criticised. For various reasons, the team was small and
was asked to do the job in a short time (with some underestimation of the relevance at EU level of this
document). The 1998 NAP was on the whole a poor document, lacking information and data (even
where some information was available). The priority attached to gender equality was almost nil; I
would say lower than in reality. That is to say, the team writing the document was unable to stress
                                                                17
even the (few) steps taken in the direction of gender equality . To sum up, in 1998: (i) the preparation
of the NAP was not considered, in general, an important obligation; (ii) equal opportunities were not
deemed to be a critical issue; (iii) mainstreaming was non-existent because the concept was unknown.
On re-reading the 1998 NAP today, the impression is that the main preoccupation was to hide existing
difficulties, more than stressing the steps taken to overcome them.

Significant progress has been made since then: while the 1998 NAP lacked references to gender
equality issues, the 1999-2001 NAPs show an increasing concern on gender related questions.
Despite the progress achieved, the priority attached to gender equality within the overall employment
policy programme is, de facto, low. To understand the low priority attached to gender equality one has
to consider the enduring feature of the Italian labour market: the pronounced regional dualism in
labour market conditions. This feature has informed the drawing up of all four Italian NAPs.

The persistent, slightly increasing and considerable differentials in economic performance between
northern and southern regions cause much concern among politicians and economists. In fact, the
unemployment rate is high for the labour force in the Mezzogiorno (but higher for women, with respect
to men) and dramatically high for the young. The theme of regional imbalances is addressed by all the
pillars in all the four NAPs considered, which evidences the particular attention paid to this national


16
     It was also announced that the Ministers Council had passed a bill on childcare supporting provisions (2000 NAP, p. 27). I do
     not know how much of this was later included in the recent law on “Assistenza”.
17
     Neither the Ministry of Equal Opportunities nor experts on EO from other public institutions were invited to join the team.

                                                                                                                                   24
problem. Due to Italian macroeconomic constraints (a high and intractable public debt, a slightly
increasing inflation rate, and the commitment to monetary stability), it is difficult to envisage far-
reaching action, but great efforts are being made to address the employment emergency in the
depressed areas according to the European Commission recommendations. In this light, gender
inequalities still appear to be a secondary problem, compared with regional disparities in employment.

To understand the difficulties met by gender equality policies, one should also consider the
weaknesses characterising – in general – employment policies in Italy. Passive employment policies
use to be the norm, and the evaluation of both planned and implemented policies was rarely
considered and consequently rarely carried out. These assessments should be based on continuous
monitoring using adequate statistical tools; although these are not yet ready for all policies
implemented, some progress has been made in this direction (especially on monitoring). This should
                                                                            18
help to understand the lack of information by gender on many policies . In addition, as already
pointed out, the different difficulties faced by women and men in the labour market on account of their
gender difference are not taken into account in policy design.

The Commission has triggered the renewal of policy thinking and acting: there is a slow but steady
shift from passive employment measures to active policies; the reform of the PES is in progress, and
when fully implemented it will require local Employment Centres (CPI) to perform an active role in job
placement, providing the unemployed with a wide range of services (including some gender specific
ones). Information and guidance is going to be flanked by traineeship schemes as well as internships
and other programmes likely to facilitate the labour-market integration of the unemployed. Given that
women are over-represented among job seekers, the implementation of this reform will be an
important policy tool to reduce gender gaps in unemployment.

Furthermore, gender awareness is also arising from the EC and Council recommendations that have
induced Italian policy-makers to reconsider their conception of societal and economic policies.
Moreover, a wide-ranging collaboration took place between, on the one hand, women ministers in
office and, on the other hand, EO institutions, that area of the trade union movement concerned with
gender issues and some academics (with personal and cultural links with the debate on EO). Several
important initiatives aiming to favour equality between women and men have been taken (see table 3).
The progress achieved is highly visible in the drawing up of the 1999-2001 NAPs, when some experts
on gender issues (either staff members of Ministries or external experts) were asked to work on
preparation of the NAPs. This wide-ranging collaboration has produced documents which are more
                                                  19
likely to tackle employment problems effectively insofar as they arise from a more global perspective.

To conclude, some problems are still unsolved (in particular, attention to gender issues in the first
three pillars is not yet sufficient). Nevertheless, progress has been made in the drawing up of the
NAPs. Mutual collaboration among ministries, committees and groups of experts has produced new
ways to consider societal and economic problems, as well as innovative ways to conceive solutions.
As a result, a much greater sensitivity to gender issues in the labour market is today apparent. Even if
little has been achieved, I dare say that Italy is on the way towards gender mainstreaming its future
policies.




18
      For example, table 2 (2000 NAP, p. 14) and table 3 (2001 NAP, p. 12) do not provide data by gender on the unemployed
      participating in training programmes (item A), educational courses for unemployed adults (item B), regional active policy
      initiatives (item D), vocational placement schemes and in-house traineeship/ training schemes (in item E).
19
     It is important to point out that the NAP is a document which should describe the actions taken at the national level to tackle
     the employment question, according to the guidelines agreed in Brussels. It is not a document that puts forward new
     proposals for labour market policies.

                                                                                                                                   25
6. FUTURE PROSPECTS, FUTURE PRIORITIES AND EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICES
During the period considered, from 1998 to May 2001, notable progress has been made regarding
gender issues in the drawing up of NAPs. This is to be attributed, to a large extent, to the European
Commission’s recommendations and criticisms, which have generated a certain sensitiveness towards
equal opportunities in Italy, thereby giving strength to the ideas and proposals developed in recent
years by women in power in order to improve the position of women in the labour market.

For an overall assessment of progress made and of future prospects, a distinction must be drawn
between the North-Centre and the Mezzogiorno. As stated in the 2001 NAP, the female employment
rate for Italy as a whole continues to be very low (38.1% in 1999), more than 20 points below the
Lisbon target. This low average rate is the result of two different employment patterns. The North-
Centre is relatively close to the EU average (48%, in 2000), 12 points below the Lisbon target; the
Mezzogiorno is very distant from it (24.6%, in 2000), 35 points below. My conclusion is that the 2001
NAP can be evaluated positively (even though with some criticisms) if one limits the analysis to the
developed areas of the country; on the contrary, the NAP continues to be entirely inadequate for
addressing the existing gender gaps in the Mezzogiorno.

The labour market policies pursued in the ‘90s, as well as the expansion of services and the recent
recovery, have stimulated the expansion of female employment in the North-Centre. This implies that
in the developed areas of the country the strategies implemented have been effective in stimulating
both the supply and the demand for labour, improving, overall, the employment performance of
women. The policies implemented have been successful to some extent, even though on the whole
too many measures continue to encourage demand for labour (reproducing the present employment
structure) without paying sufficient attention to the conditions of the supply of female labour (as
measured by unemployment rates). To create more favourable conditions for the employment of
women existing policies should be strengthened and supplemented with new policies focused (more
effectively) on the following goals:
-   favouring reconciliation by providing more services for working parents (including care services
    and facilities, vouchers to households for the purchase of care services, etc.); some interesting
    new measures are included in the new law on “Assistenza” (very recently enacted), but for an
    assessment of the full implementation of this law we shall have to wait (and see how the new
    government will effectively pursue the aims of this law);
-   encouraging innovations in organisations (and regulations) in order to provide flexible working
    arrangements for working mothers and households with family responsibilities (children, the
    elderly, handicapped persons, the sick). Some interesting steps in this direction have been taken
    by setting a fund (see the Summary Table pp. v-vi) for the financing of innovations in work
    organisation; how much will be done in this direction will depend – to a large extent – on the will of
    the social partners (employers, trade unions) at the enterprise level;
-   supporting the education and training of young females in the new professions (paying particular
    attention to indirect discrimination in the access to new jobs and new sectors, particularly those
    related to the development of the 'information society') and stimulating their employment through
    direct work experience (placements, etc.); this is an area lacking gender specific measures;
-   monitoring the career development of women and adopting specific policies (including on-the-job
    training) for their progress not only in the public sector (where some specific actions have already
    been taken and where some improvement is acknowledged) but especially in the private sector
    (where the glass ceiling continues to be unbroken);
-   removing existing obstacles against the effective empowerment of women in public institutions
    and political life; in this respect the outcome of the recent political elections (13 May 2001) is
    depressing: the share of women in the Italian Parliament diminished further (to 9.2%).
The employment pattern has improved over the last 5 years, showing a progressive expansion over
time confirmed by particularly positive records in 2000. Throughout 1996-2000 female employment
increased significantly and female unemployment contracted, reducing the gender gaps in the


                                                                                                       26
employment and unemployment rates. In the Mezzogiorno, the female employment increased, but at a
lower rate than in the rest of the country, which widened the female employment gap within the
country. The data support the hypothesis that labour market policies have been largely ineffective for
southern women, despite the strong recovery recorded in 2000. Specific measures in favour of female
employment in the most depressed areas of the country are urgently needed to encourage the
integration of women in the labour market. Without such actions, the competition for good jobs – also
in periods of expansion – will continue to penalise southern women (discouraging large numbers of
them to enter active life and employing a large share of southern women in low wage, unstable and/or
irregular jobs).




                                                                                                   27
LEGEND

CFL = Contratti di Formazione e Lavoro (work training contracts)
CNP = Comitato Nazionale di Parità, Ministero del Lvaoro (National Committee on Parity, Ministry of Labour)
CPI = Centri per l’Impiego (Employment Centres)
CRs = Council Recommendations
D. Lgs = Decreto Legislativo (Law Decree)
EC   = European Commission
EIS = Employment Information System
EO   = Equal Opportunities
EPS = Employment Public Service (SPI, Servizi pubblici per l’impiego)
ESF = European Structural Funds
EU   = European Union
FT   = full-time
FTE = Full Time Equivalent
L. = Legge (Law)
LSU = Lavori Socialmente Utili
PAs = Parity Advisors
PT   = part-time
QCS = Quadro Comunitario di Sostegno (Structural Funds)
VISPO= Valutazione d’Impatto Strategico per le Pari Opportunità




                                                                                                              28
REFERENCES

a) official documents

Council (2001b), Council Recommendations of 19 January 2001 on the implementation of Member States’
      employment policies, O.J.E.C., 24.1.2001
Council and Commission (2001), 2000 Joint Employment Report
Council and Commission (2000), 1999 Joint Employment Report
European Commission (2000a), Employment in Europe 2000, Employment and Social Affairs, Office for Official
      Publications of the European Communities, Luxemburg
European Commission (2000b), Joint Employment Report 2000 (Draft), Employment and Social Affairs,
      EMPL/3012/00, September
1998 NAP, Italy - Ministero del Lavoro e della Previdenza Sociale, Employment Action Plan. Italy (April 1998)
1998 NAP Implementation Report. Italy - Ministero del Lavoro e della Previdenza Sociale, Implementation Report.
      Employment Action Plan. Italy (July 1998)
1999 NAP, Italy - Ministero del Lavoro e della Previdenza Sociale, National Action Plan for Employment. Italy
      (May 1999)
2000 NAP, Italy - Ministero del Lavoro e della Previdenza Sociale, National Action Plan for Employment. Italy
      (April 2000)
2001 NAP, Italy - Ministero del Lavoro e della Previdenza Sociale, Piano di Azione Nazionale per l’Occupazione.
      Italia (Maggio 2001)


b) previous EGGE Reports for Italy

Villa P. (1998), “The 1998 NAP for Italy. The effectiveness of the National Action Plan with regard to equal
        opportunities”. Report prepared for the Network on “Gender and Employment”, EC DGV, Brussels –
        UMIST Manchester (May 1998)
Villa P. (1999), “Gender Mainstreaming”, Report prepared for the Network on “Gender and Employment”, EC
        DGV, Brussels – UMIST Manchester (February 1999)
Villa P. Bonetti S. (2000a), “Assessing the Implementation of Gender Mainstreaming in Italy”. (Gender Equality
        and the European Employment Strategy: an Evaluation of the 2000 NAP). Report prepared for the
        Network on “Gender and Employment”, EC DGV, Brussels – UMIST Manchester (December 2000)
Villa P. Bonetti S., (2000b), “Gender Impact Assessment and the Present State of Equal Opportunities in Italy”,
        Report prepared for the Network on “Gender and Employment”, EC DGV, Brussels – UMIST Manchester
        (October 2000)


c) other references

CNP – ITER (eds.) (2001), I differenziali salariali per sesso in Italia. Rapporto di ricerca, ITER srl, Napoli
Bettio F., Villa P. (1999), To what extent does it pay to be better educated? Education and market work for
       women in Italy". South European Society and Politics, Vol. 4, n. 2, pp. 150-171.




                                                                                                                 29
                                                          APPENDIX




Table A1 – Employment performance by gender. Italy, 1991 and 1998-2000
                                          1991                    1998                       1999                   2000
                                      M           F          M            F           M              F         M           F
Total employment (‘000)            13801         7347      13090          7330       13119          7499           na          na
Employment rate (%)                   70.3        36.6       66.9         37.2            67.1       38.1          na          na
Unemployment rate (%)                  6.2        13.0        9.1         16.3             9.7       15.6          na          na
PT work (% share)                      2.9         7.7        3.5         14.4             3.4       15.7          na          na
Fixed term contracts (% share)         4.0         8.8        7.4         10.2             8.5       11.8          na          na
Note: Eurostat data for 2000, recently published by EC, "Employment in Europe. 2001" (Key employment indicators, Italy, p.
      118) are not here included, as they are not directly comparable with data from previous years.
Source: Eurostat, LFS




Table A2 – Total employment (‘000) in Italy, January 1996-2001
                          Jan. 1996       Jan. 2000       Jan. 2001       ∆1996-00         ∆% change        ∆2000-01 ∆% change

Employment (MF)                  19845           20614        21273                769              0,97           659              3,20
         of which:
Employees                        14077           14847        15345                770              1,37           498              3,35
 Permanent FT empl.              12621           12635        13005                 14              0,03           370              2,93
 Atypical work                    1456            2212           2340              756           12,98             128              5,79
Self employed                     5768            5767           5928               -1              0,00           161              2,79
Employment in
Mezzogiorno:
   no.                            5607            5787           6003              180              0,80           216              3,73
   (% share)                     (28.2)          (28.1)          (28.2)          (20.9)                         (32.9)
Female Employment:
   no.                            6964            7534           7920              570              2,05           386              5,12
   (% share)                     (35.1)          (36.5)          (37.2)          (74.1)                         (58.8)
U rate (MF)                       11,6            11,1              9,9

Source: Istat, Rilevazione Trimestrale delle Forze di Lavoro.




                                                                                                                                           30
Table A3 - Employment performance by gender and by regional subgroups in 1997-2000. Italy,
           North-East and the Mezzogiorno
                                   ITALY                      North-East                Mezzogiorno
                            M              F              M                F           M           F

Employment growth (% increase)
         1997                0,1           1,0            0,3              2,1         0,3            1,0
         1998                0,6           2,1            0,5              1,3         1,1            3,5
         1999                0,5           2,6            1,0              2,8         -0,1           0,2
         2000                1,2           3,1            1,3              3,7         1,6            2,3
 Employment rate (15-64) (%)
         1997               65,8           36,4           72,7             48,0        58,0           23,1
         1998               66,2           37,3           73,0             48,8        58,5           24,0
         1999               66,7           38,3           73,7             50,1        58,6           24,1
         2000               67,5           39,6           74,5             52,1        59,5           24,6
    October 2000            68,3           40,5           75,6             53,3        60,2           25,3
 Unemployment rate
         1997                9,0           16,2
         1998                9,1           16,3
         1999                8,8           15,7
         2000                8,1           14,5
    October 2000             7,6           13,8
Youth unemployment rate (15-24)
         1997               29,6           39,6
         1998               29,8           39,0
         1999               29,2           37,4
         2000               27,6           35,4
    October 2000            26,8           34,9

Source: Istat, Rilevazione Trimestrale delle Forze di Lavoro.



Table A4 – Employment performance: the position of Italy with respect to the EU average in
          1999 and to changes recorded in 1996-99
                                                           ITALY                               EU                  ∆ in EU
                                                  1999     ranking    ∆ ‘96-99         1999          ∆ ‘96-99        gap

   Employment rate (%)
                   M                               67.1                 +1.8           71.6            +1.9           +0.1
                   F                               38.1          14     +2.0           52.9            +2.9           +0.9
   FTE Employment rate (%)
                  M                                66.4                 +1.6           69.7            +1.1           -0.5
                       F                           35.7          13     +1.4           44.2            +1.9           +0.5
   Total U rate (%)
                      M                             8.7                    -0.7         7.9            -1.7           +1.0
                     F                             15.6          13        -0.8        10.2            -1.6           +0.8
   Long-term U rate (%)
                     M                              5.3                    -0.6         3.5            -1.0           +0.4
                       F                            9.3          12        -0.3         5.0            -1.2           +0.9
   Youth U ratio (% population 15-24)
                     M                             12.3                 +0.4            8.5            -1.8           +2.2
                       F                           12.5          13     +0.2            8.5            -1.6           +1.8
Note: a positive (negative) figure in column three, five and six implies an increase (decrease) in the gap between Italy and the
      EU average.
Source: Eurostat, LFS (in Council and Commission, Joint Employment Report 2001, and EGGE calculations).




                                                                                                                               31
Table A5 – Italy. A selection of indicators on gender inequality (1999)

                                                        1999    Ranking   Gender gap   Ranking

             Female Employment rates (%)
 Employment rate                                        38.1      14        -29.0        13
 FTE employment rate (Eurostat)                         33.3      14        -35.3        10
              Employment of … (%)
 Women 20-24                                            31.96               -14.06
 Women 25-29                                            47.01               -21.40
 Women 30-39                                            54.32               -34.13
 Women 40-49                                            51.37               -40.02
 Women 50-59                                            29.67               -35.59
 Women 60-64                                            7.55                -21.77

 Low educated women                                     29.2                -37.2        12
 Medium educated women                                  52.8                -20.9        12
 High educated women                                    74.9                -14.2        14
                     Atypical work
 Female part-time (as share of total employment)        16.0%      3        +12.3         4
 Female involuntary part-time (as share of total PT)    33.1%     13        -12.3         4
 Female temporary work (as share of total employment)   11.8%      6         +3.3         8
              Female Unemployment
 Unemployment rate (% LF)                               15.6      13         +6.9        13
 Long term U rate (% LF)                                 9.5      13         +4.1
 Youth unemployment (as % share of population 15-24)    12.5      13         +0.1
 Long term U ratio (as % share of total U)              60.7      12         -1.4         7
Source: Eurostat, LFS (from EGGE calculations, 2001)




                                                                                                 32

				
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