Agreement promotes women's employment in Rome’s ICT companies

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In July 2003, the municipality of Rome and the local employers' organisation, the Industrialists’ Union, signed an agreement to increase women’s presence in the city's information and communications technology (ICT) companies and improve the skills and qualifications of women already employed in the sector.

On 24 July 2003, the municipality of Rome and the Industrialists’ Union (Unione degli Industriali) - the local organisation of the Confindustria employers' confederation - signed an agreement aimed at promoting the employment of women in Rome’s information and communications technology (ICT) companies. In everyday working life, 'gender equality is still jeopardised by the non-exercise of equality rights and by continuing sexual discrimination', according to the agreement's signatories. Awareness of this situation and the fact that the Rome area 'employs the highest number of workers in the Italian ICT sector' have thus led the municipality and the employers' body to draw up a series of initiatives to increase women’s presence in ICT companies and improve the skills and qualifications of women already employed in the sector.

The main targets of the joint projects to be developed by the municipality and the Industrialists’ Union are young women and teachers. The agreement provides for the following activities:

  • a survey on women’s presence in Rome’s ICT companies, to be conducted before September 2003;
  • a conference, to be held towards the end of 2003, on the support for gender equality provided by the Industrialists’ Union's relevant sectoral section (the 'advanced tertiary section', or Sezione Terziario Avanzato) and by local ICT companies;
  • a 'mentoring' network 'to help women find their way and plan their professional career, in particular in Rome’s ICT sector';
  • a training course for young female university graduates on the most recent ICT technologies. The course will develop the skills required for women’s employability and to meet the 'internationalisation' needs of Roman companies;
  • a training course addressed to women teaching ICT subjects, aimed at raising awareness about sex discrimination and gender equality issues in all areas of life; and
  • a project to analyse best practices on equal opportunities between women and men in the ICT industry throughout Europe.

These initiatives will be the responsibility of the Industrialists’ Union's relevant sectoral section and its women’s group (Femminile al plurale) and of Consorzio Gioventù Digitale, an ICT consortium established by the municipality of Rome (which will make also available the competences of its equal opportunities department). The measures are regarded as falling within the framework proposed by the European Commission to foster equal opportunities between men and women in economic, social cultural, civil and political life, in its Community framework strategy on gender equality (2001-5) (EU0007264F). The agreement also provides also for the promotion of 'special projects' to achieve its priority objectives, in line with the available resources.

A joint committee was to be set up within 15 days after the signature of the agreement. The committee is composed of 15 members and will promote and coordinate all the initiatives provided for by the agreement.

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