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63rd Session CSW – General Debate of the Sixty-third Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

National Statement delivered by the Under-Secretary of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers with Delegated Authority for Equal Opportunity and Youth, MP Vincenzo Spadafora, at the General Debate of the Sixty-third Session of the Commission on the Status of Women —

Thank you, Mister President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by Romania on behalf of the European Union, and I would like to add the following remarks in my national capacity.

The global commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment has been, once again, confirmed and supported by the statements of all of the Governments here today.

And we all agree that the future of humanity is rooted in the recognition and realization of equal opportunities as a sacrosanct right.

Each government must transform into concrete action its pledges to eliminate, through policies and interventions, the obstacles to reaching full equality.

Italy has launched numerous actions in recent years to improve gender equality in political decision-making processes. As a consequence, the number of women working in political institutions has grown substantially.

This increase was confirmed by recent general elections, where 34% of newly elected parliamentarians were women. This is the highest percentage reached in the history of the Italian Republic.

Beyond political participation, it is crucial to promote women’s access to decision-making processes in the economic sector as well.
Italy is currently witnessing a significant revolution in women’s leadership, owing to the implementation of Law 120/2011 on the “Equality of Access to administrative and supervisory boards of quoted companies”, a aw which establishes that the least represented gender in quoted private and public companies must reach 33% of elected managers by 2015. , With the entry into force of this Law, the percentage of women occupying top positions is now equal to 33.5%.

This is an important achievement if we consider that women’s participation in Italy’s quoted companies in 2010 was equal to 6%. This increase was also visible in public companies where the presence of women board members is now equal to 32.1%. The commitment of the Italian Government and, first and foremost, of the Italian Parliament will be that to extend the effectiveness of the law to consolidate in time the results obtained thus far, above all, so that it becomes a cultural heritage and not just enforced by law.

Italy continues in its awareness-raising efforts addressed to the new generations, incentivizing access for female students to the scientific-technological-engineering and math sector, what is known as STEM.

We have continued our process of work reorganization promoting more flexible forms of employment that do not penalize women on their career paths and allow them to sustain a work-life balance. Lastly, a new instrument, the base income, as a measure of an effective employment policy and of combating poverty to favour the job placement of women and girls.

Mr. President,

Italy, once again, wishes to confirm, through these actions, its leadership role in fighting for the issues and challenges it has always championed also thanks to our active development cooperation system and to civil society organizations that have successfully attested their dedication in a qualified and driven manner.

I would also like to remember for this reason the tragic loss of our Italian collaborators and honor their memory and commitment by expressing my heartfelt condolences for the victims of the recent plane crash.

This historic moment compels us to a firm and attentive defense of the rights we have acquired through years of challenges and battles.

We must speak to girls, to young women to explain that the rights they enjoy today are the result of the enormous work of women who fought precisely to make the lives of the new generations of girls better. Any attempt at a cultural rollback on the issue of equal opportunities for all women and men must provoke a stern and resolute reaction, first precisely from the young generations.

Cultural challenges are the most complex, also because we have to overcome stereotypes. They ask us to question ourselves and above all, it should be very clear, they ask us to question, primarily, the male perspective.

I gained first-hand awareness of this when nine months ago I began to work on Equal Opportunities for the Italian Government and owing to the fact that, for the first time in Italy, it was not a woman occupying this office. I understood how essential it is to work side-by-side, not ahead of one another or behind, but on the same level, women and men – because the battle for women is a battle for men that is cultural, human, social and political.