Women's start-ups in Italy

Are there still areas of work in which women struggle to make their way?

In recent years, we have heard more and more about start-ups, i.e. emerging businesses characterised by an organisation and innovative ideas that can grow indefinitely.

With regard to the presence of women in management positions, the data reported at Italian and European level are alarming. According to the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, in 2019, innovative companies with women in these positions accounted for only 13.5% of the total. At European level, the situation does not seem to be any better: the percentage increases slightly to 18% of total startups.

The reasons for this under-representation seem to be those often cited regarding unequal treatment and remuneration between males and females, as well as an under-representation of women in some university faculties.

Women are mainly present in smaller start-ups and are particularly prominent in southern Italy, where more and more women are responding to the difficulties of finding a job in a courageous way: by choosing to become their own entrepreneurs. According to data from 'Unioncamere', the Italian region with the lowest representation of women at managerial level is Trentino Alto-Adige (8.5% of the total), while the three most virtuous regions are Basilicata (24.8%), Sicily (18.9%) and Sardinia (18.1%). The Italian average for female representation in start-ups represents the sum of the above data and is around 13.2%.

Women's start-ups have mainly developed in the education, health and social care and artistic sectors.

Italy ranks third in Europe after Greece and Ireland.

The positive news in relation to female representation at the top of Italian Startups lies in the trends that have been recorded in recent years, since 2014 there has in fact been a steady increase, especially in the Lazio and Calabria regions.

Among the most innovative Italian startups, we can mention "Re-Generation (Y)outh", a Think Tank completely made in the south and under 30 years old, with a really interesting mission, especially for Italy, which is the enhancement of cultural heritage to promote the development of the territory. An innovative and extremely interesting idea, so much so that Giusy Sica, the founder, has been included by 'Forbes Italia' among the 100 leaders of the future under 30.

Another important all-female initiative comes from Milan and in particular from the Politecnico University, where two women are carrying out important studies on recycling. Starting with organic food waste and recycling materials such as the threshing machine from brewing, rice waste or shrimp shells, they are obtaining cellulose or chitin, starting materials in the pharmaceutical sector and organic fertiliser. Above all, the aim of such research is to produce paper without deforesting new trees.

The prospects in Italy therefore seem positive and the incentives, including from the European Union, are present and abundant, so it is to be hoped that women will be increasingly present in the future Italian labour market and erode the still heavy gender gap.

Translated by Francesca Cioffi

Original version by Sofia Perinetti

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  • L'Autore

    Sofia Perinetti

    Sofia Perinetti è laureata in magistrale in Scienze Internazionali e della Cooperazione, ha approfondito nella sua carriera universitaria e post il lato delle relazioni internazionali che concerne la cooperazione internazionale come strumento di aiuto e sostegno verso paesi terzi.

    E' interessata sin dai primi anni di università alla tutela dei diritti umani e per questo in Mondo Internazionale è presente nel team di Diritti Umani come vice dello Chief Editor, è inoltre presente nel team di grant-management ed infine di GEO. Questi tre team le permettono di esprimere a pieno gli interessi sociali e culturali che la contraddistinguono.

    Sofia Perinetti has a degree in International and Cooperation Sciences, she has deepened in her university career and post the side of international relations that concerns international cooperation as an instrument of aid and support to third countries.

    Since the first years of university she has been interested in the protection of human rights and for this reason in Mondo Internazionale she is present in the Human Rights team as deputy to the Chief Editor, she is also present in the grant-management team and finally in GEO. These three teams allow her to fully express the social and cultural interests that distinguish her.


From the World Europe Sections Human Rights Entrepreneurship Society Economy


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