Gender Equality Annual Report 2021

Gender Equality Annual Report 2021This is my first time presenting the Gender Equality Report: a valuable document whose previous editions I am familiar with. It has helped me to understand the complexities of our academic community, which are manifested in the differences that distinguish it and in the discrepancies that still run through it. Both before and after my election, it has served as a guide in calibrating the programmes, objectives and actions needed to bring about a fairer future for our University and all of its components.

The work completed so far has led to us being among the first Italian universities to draft a Gender Equality Plan (GEP 2017-2020, deriving from the European Plotina project) as required by the European Union, and among the first to implement the actions provided for in the new Plan 2021-2024, which are illustrated in the 2021 Report, and which we hope will have a significant and measurable impact as of the next reporting cycle.

The data of the 2021 Gender Equality Report show a slight improvement which, while not yet sufficient to indicate that significant progress is being made, is encouraging enough to indicate that we are on the right path. It is therefore necessary to change pace in order to achieve a decisive reduction in overall inequality and a different gender balance. We need to act, in concert with high schools, at the point that pupils are starting to think about university and careers, in order that the distribution by gender and by subject of enrolled students does not always confirm the traditional connotations of the degree programmes. This phenomenon of "horizontal segregation", which is once again confirmed in the 2021 Gender Equality Report, is accompanied by a discrepancy in the distribution of teachers and researchers: when ascending through the ranks and in a proportional manner in the various areas, the number of women tends to decrease. This indicates that, like in other institutions, our university also suffers from "vertical segregation" and the "glass ceiling", phenomena that are sadly all too familiar and that are clearly evident among teaching and research staff and, to a lesser degree, among professional staff, foreign language instructors (CEL) and language assistants. We are not impervious to the effect of the so-called "leaky pipeline", whereby the percentage of women drastically falls at the different programme levels, from the undergraduate degree to the doctoral degree programme and up to teacher level.

Our university, like the society around us, is still interwoven with problems and inequalities between men and women due to certain exogenous aspects (such as the success of some in their studies, the characteristics of the job market, the care responsibilities possibly assumed by women later on), and in particular endogenous aspects, which affect the courses of study, the institutional bodies and senior positions, and the academic and professional career. However, the Alma Mater, more than other institutions, has the task of educating and of developing the tools and critical knowledge able to address the challenge of inclusion as an objective of personal growth and development. It must also assume responsibility for the impact that said objective, if effectively pursued, may have on the community, on the life of citizens, the professionals that we train, the relationships that we build and on the sustainability of our shared future.

Giovanni Molari
Rector of the Università of Bologna