Women’s Rights in Italy

This article provides an overview of women's rights in Italy, with special regard given to education and employment.

Traditional society in Italy was typically Mediterranean in the sense that Italian society was very patriarchal. Up until the 20th century, most women in Italy were not educated and were not expected to follow any vocation in life other than being a wife and rearing children. To some extent the remnants of this mindset are still to be found in Italy today especially when considering the attitudes that some Italians have towards women in Italy. Nevertheless, the general standard of women’s rights in Italy is in accordance with what one might expect from a developed country in Western Europe. Below we’ve highlighted a few issues pertaining to women’s rights in Italy today.

Women And Education in Italy

Educational statistics in Italy pertaining to women in Italy today are highly favourable. There have been great advances in the numbers of women who are going on to higher education in Italy compared to previous generations. Today in Italy twice as many women enrol on university degree courses than 30 years ago. The general population of Italy has a 98% literacy rate with basic education being provided to all regardless of gender. Women currently exceed men in Italy with regards to tertiary education. Approximately 60% of all university graduates in Italy are women. Women are well represented in all academic disciplines at universities in Italy, including areas such as computer science and mathematics which are often dominated by men in other countries.

Women at Work in Italy

Italy’s record on women and employment is generally good although not as impressive as its educational standing. The likelihood of a woman in Italy finding employment seems to be in great part related to the level of her education. Approximately 80% of women in Italy who have university degrees go on to find employment in the job market in Italy. The rate of women in Italy with secondary education who are in full time employment is roughly half that of degree holding women in Italy.

Women And Pay in Italy

Italy does still have some discrepancies with regards to equal pay for women in Italy. While women working in white collar jobs do generally get paid the same rates as their male counterparts in Italy, women with secondary education get on average one third less of the pay that would be received by an Italian man doing the same job. These figures may be mitigated to some extent by the higher preponderance that women in Italy have for part time work.

Women’s Rights And Regional Culture in Italy

The traditional view that the role of women in Italy is to be a wife and a mother still seems to exist more in the South than it does in the North of Italy. This is reflected in lower employment rates of women in the south of Italy.

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