Nevertheless, Italy is ranked last among European countries when it comes to the proportion of women employed in these professions.
Why? Professional choices are still strongly influenced by gender stereotypes that take root as early as primary school level and often unconsciously determine girls’ educational choices and future careers.
A study by UNESCO concluded that worldwide only 30% of female students choose an educational pathway related to STEM subjects.
The gender gap in STEM subjects not only penalises women in terms of professional opportunities, it also impoverishes the corporate world, research and, more generally, society as a whole.
Studies carried out by the European Institute for Gender Equality demonstrate that the elimination of the male-female disparity in STEM fields would have a significant positive impact on the economic growth of the European Union in the coming decades.
To promote gender equality and female empowerment, the United Nations General Assembly designated 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This anniversary has assumed an increasingly important role; last year it saw the publication of the highest number of research papers into women and STEM related fields.
In line with our Diversity&Inclusion policy, we are promoting a series of initiatives with the goal of encouraging young women to pursue degrees in scientific and technical fields and digital technologies, shortening the distance between the worlds of education and work while making the energy industry more inclusive and diverse.
In November 2020, we launched “Tech Talks”, a cycle of online meetings that feature nationally and internationally accomplished women from the worlds of science, culture, business and the entertainment industry. The goal of the project is to raise awareness among young people about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) skills. Even more specifically, it aims to showcase to female students the opportunities for personal, social and professional development that the world of STEM subjects offers, while working to overcome the gender stereotypes and cultural prejudices that undermine young women’s choices to study science subjects at university. Guest speaker at the first meeting was Ersilia Vaudo Scarpetta, astrophysicist and Chief Diversity Officer at the European Space Agency, who shared her experience in an enthralling speech.
In 2019, in order to inspire young women to pursue an interest in the world of science and technology, we organized Women in Tech, an online event that attracted thousands of participants, generating more than two thousand conversations, almost eight thousand interactions and a potential media exposure of 28 million hits.
This initiative evolved out of our project Girls in ICT, which has been active since 2016, in which women who are experts and managers from the world of IT and digital technologies talk to female students aged between 16 and 25 about the benefits and career opportunities of STEM degrees.
To enable young women to really experience what a working day for a manager in this field is really like, in 2018 and 2019 we created the shadowing experience Leaders for a Day. The initiative offered students in the final two years of four high schools the opportunity to immerse themselves for an entire day in the working environment and technologies of Enel at its offices in Rome, supported by tutors from the Global Digital Solutions (GDS) division.
Furthermore, along with other important companies in 2017, we participated in the project Girls in Motion, a ‘learning tour’ which gave 20 female students the opportunity to visit sites of Italian industrial excellence (maintenance systems, operating rooms, construction sites and workshops) to explore and share women’s experiences in tech culture. In 2016, with Girls go Tech, we organized a one-day event in the form of a training contest in which 60 female students, again with the help of our tutors, worked in teams to design and pitch concepts for new products and services linked to the energy sector.
An effective strategy
We have always aimed to attract the top talents. Initiatives to promote STEM professions are enabling students of all genders to get to know us better as an innovative, forward-looking company that is open to dialogue with younger generations. That such initiatives are working has been acknowledged by the agency Universum Global, specialized in employer branding, which in 2020 ranked Enel in first place among utilities as the employer for which Italian university students would most like to work and in the Top 10 for students of STEM subjects.
Our commitment to ensuring gender equality has also been recognized in Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index 2020 (GEI), which assesses the world’s top 325 companies for gender inclusion initiatives and transparency. Our Group stands out for its practices of promoting a female presence on our Board, in managerial positions and in new hires, and ensuring gender parity, equal pay, social benefits and work-life balance for all personnel.
Finally, we are the only Italian FTSE MIB 40 company to make the Top 20 of the Gender Equality in Europe ranking and are number one in Equileap’s classification of Gender Equality in Italy.