Women in Italy

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Women in Italy
Five Miles to Midnight 1962.JPG
Sophia Loren, one of Italy's best known actresses
Gender Inequality Index
Value 0.094 (2012)
Rank 11th
Maternal mortality (per 100,000) 4 (2010)
Women in parliament 31.4% (2013) [1]
Females over 25 with secondary education 68.0% (2010)
Women in labour force 37.9% (2011)
Global Gender Gap Index[2]
Value 0.6885 (2013)
Rank 71st out of 136

The article Women in Italy refers to the role Italian women play in social life, culture and politics, treatment towards them, and their rights.


For the Roman period, see Women in Ancient Rome.

Post-Roman period[edit]

Maria Gaetana Agnesi, an Italian mathematician and linguist, who was, according to Dirk Jan Struik "the first important woman mathematician since Hypatia (fifth century A.D.)".

There were some distinguished women in Italy before the 1950s, such as Elena Piscopia (the world's first female laureate), Maria Gaetana Agnesi (scholar, mathematician and philosopher) and Maria Montessori (educator).[3]


Today women have equal rights as men, and have mainly the same job, business and education opportunities.[3]

Female education[edit]

Women in Italy tend to have highly favourable results and mainly excel in secondary and tertiary education.[3] Ever since the Italian economic miracle, women's literacy rate and university enrollment has gone up dramatically in Italy.[3] Women in Italy have a 98% literacy rate, have a basic education and often go to university.[3] 60% of Italian university graduates are female, and women are excellently represented in all academic subjects, including mathematics, information technology and other technological areas which are usually occupied by males.[3]


Female standards at work are generally of a high quality and professional, but is not as excelling as in their education.[3] The probability of a woman getting employed is mainly related to her qualifications, and 80% of women who graduate university go to look for jobs.[3] Women in Italy face a number of challenges. Though gender roles are not as strict as they have been in the past sexual and domestic abuse in Italy is still quite prevalent in Italy. On average women do 3.7 hours more housework than men. Less than half of the parliament is made up of women. Additionally, women in Italy are not adequately represented in the workforce as Italy has one of the lowest rates of employment for women of the countries within the European Union (only 46% of women have jobs). Only 22% of women graduate with a job and are still frequently expected to stay at home and care for the house and children as opposed to earning a salary of becoming a breadwinner and only 5% of senior managerial positions are held by women. Furthermore, there are unequal standards and expectations for the few women who are actually make it into a professional setting. For example, 9% of working Italian mothers have been fired due to pregnancy. Critics say that the existing legislation is adequate and fair but the social climate still does not reflect full equality nor does it protect against abuse. Italian lawmakers are working to further protect and support women as they break gender stereotypes and join the workforce but complete cultural change will take time.[4]


Women holding white collar, high level or office jobs tend to get paid the same as men, but women with blue collar or manual positions are paid 1/3 less than their male counterparts.[3]

Culture and society[edit]

There is, today, a growing acceptance of women, and people (especially in the North[5]) tend to be far more liberal towards women getting jobs, going to university and doing stereotypically male things. However, in some parts of society, women are still stereotyped as being simply housewives and mothers, also reflected in the fact of a higher-than-EU average female unemployment.[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]