Image by Marija Zaric

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE

Sara De Nardis

As we all face the severe consequences of the global pandemic, many have noticed that in Italy the decisions regarding the emergency and the means to overcome it have mainly been taken by men. 


Even though there has been progress in the matter of gender equality, the journey is still long and with different obstacles during the path, for example the combination of lack of money and no female leaders in the decision-taking teams.


The Italian government stated that part of the money that would come from the “Recovery Fund” could be used to fund the so called “Family act”, which includes economic incentives for women who go back to work after maternity leave and the strengthening of parental leave for new dads. Before the European Commission’s announcement, these initiatives were stranded because of insufficient funds, even though the data shows that, globally, the increase in unemployment, in job suspensions and income falls due to Covid-19 have had a greater impact on female workers. 


Situations like these, in which we could see a decisive transformation of the world we live in, should be used as an opportunity to change, an opportunity to work towards a disruption. And this should not only happen for “ideological” reasons, but for practical ones as well. If more time is needed to take care of the little ones and our loved grandfathers, probably the one in the couple that will give up on a career will be the parent with a lower income. 


Everyone agrees with the fact that the rate of female employment in Italy should be higher (50% today), but no one seems to take a decisive step when it comes to changing the order of priority. This is possibly also due to “first generation” prejudices that lie deeper in our society compared to others, like the fact that women are more “suitable” to work at home, or that children grow better at home rather than in class. 


One way to overcome these prejudices could be by establishing specific “impartial committees” in the processes of collective decision-making (not only in politics but in businesses as well), with the feature of questioning itself on preconceptions and with the aim of finding possible solutions. This in order to fight the tendency to store the “women issue” because of other urgent problems. Moreover, it is not a “women issue” when we talk about promoting female-led start-ups or about increasing the flexibility of parental leaves, or about “gender responsive budgeting”. In football terms, it’s about taking off the bench half of the national talents that could contribute to a change in perspective that in turn could lead, finally, to a decisive disruption.