Paola Profeta is the author of “Gender equality and public policies”. Measuring progress in Europe (BE Bocconi Editore – UBE 2021; 256 pages; 26 euros). At what point are we in Italy and in the rest of Europe with the commitments undertaken by United Nations and from European Commission to, at least, improve gender imbalances? Paola Prophet in his new book for Egea, after an in-depth and comparative analysis, he suggests some answers. Despite formal commitments made by the United Nations and the European Commission to improve gender imbalances, progress towards gender equality in the labor market and in decision-making positions in economics and politics has progressed at a discouraging pace in recent decades and slow.
Gender gaps in the world of work are marked and the “glass ceiling” is still a dominant phenomenon everywhere. The Covid-19 pandemic risks worsening the scenario: women work in sectors heavily affected by the pandemic and they are responsible for most of the housework and care work increased during the pandemic. In Italy the data show a particularly critical situation: in the last year the female employment rate was only 48.6%.
“The European countries, he claims Paola Prophet, they have been proactive in supporting policies such as paternity leave and gender quotas for corporate boards, but measuring the effectiveness of these initiatives has proved difficult. ”
The book offers a careful comparative analysis of gender policies in Europe, providing an in-depth overview of how public policies are shaping gender equality and how the presence of women in decision-making positions in economics and politics is in turn shaping new public policies.
“Public policy” emphasizes Prophet “Is the tool that accelerates progress towards gender equality. A clear example is childcare. The creation of services for early childhood would support the participation of women in the labor market ”.
Using an interdisciplinary approach, the main feature that distinguished the author’s research from the beginning, the volume includes contributions and evidence from multiple disciplines, in addition to economics, management, political science, sociology, demography and public policies.
Demographic, socioeconomic, and technological changes can be both a risk and an opportunity. Designing public policies appropriate to change makes them opportunities to develop an economy and a society that can experience a path of sustainable growth which in turn will improve gender equality.
Here, then, in the volume, answers are given to questions such as: how do public policies affect gender equality? Which are the most important? The most effective? How do women in decision-making positions contribute to gender equality?
“At the end of the path” concludes Prophet “It will be understood how public policies are a driving force for gender equality and how women in decision-making positions can make a difference in current and future economies”.
Paola Profeta is Professor of Finance at Bocconi University in Milan and Director of the AXA Research Lab on Gender Equality at the same university. She is President of the European Public Choice Society, sits on the board of management of the International Institute of Public Finance, on the Women in Economics (WinE) committee of the European Economic Association and on the board of directors of the Italian Society of Public Economics. He is also a member of the editorial board of the European Journal of Political Economy, International Tax and Public Finance and CESifo Economic Studies. For years she has been engaged at national and international level in academic activity and in public debate on the issues of promoting employment and female empowerment.