Italy: lowest female employment rate in Europe



In a world that is progressively advocating gender equality, in terms of career opportunities and wages for example, it is important to pay attention to Italy. It is the country with the lowest female employment rate in Europe. The status of working women in Italy reflects persistent gender disparities in different aspects of employment and participation in society. Despite some progress, there are still major challenges to overcome.

First of all, Italian women face a lower employment rate (47.7%) than men (65.3%), as well as a higher unemployment rate (11.1% compared with 9.6% for men). Inactivity rates are also much higher for women (46.3% against 27.6% for men), indicating the existence of barriers to women ‘s participation in the Italian labour market.

Over the past decade, the integration of women into the labour market has increased slowly, with marginal rises in activity and employment rates. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated existing inequalities, with women suffering the most job losses (312,000 compared with 132,000 for men) due to their employment being concentrated in precarious, part-time jobs and in sectors that do not allow working from home

It is important to highlight that in Italy, women earn significantly less than men, with an average pay gap of around 11.5% or around 2,700 euros less per year.

These statistics point out the need to pursue efforts to fight inequality between men and women in Italy, in particular through political intervention, cultural change and structural support for the self-empowerment of women and their equal participation in all aspects of society.