“Companies don’t live in an ecosystem detached from society. They must increasingly support people, and their communities. An inclusive workplace is created by embracing a people-centred philosophy, and by recognising work/life integration through a systemic approach to HR management,” Maria Rita Fortunato commented during the Forum’s Diversity&Inclusion round table. “Building a climate of trust, listening to your team, strengthening resilience, a sense of identity and belonging to the organisation by promoting reciprocity and valuing diversity are all absolutely essential.”
Fortunato added, “In recent years, the most far-sighted companies have developed their own internal gender management policies with the aim of recognising and combating the stereotypes that imply women have less managerial ability, less dedication and less competitiveness. These stereotypes translate into fewer professional opportunities for women – a situation confirmed in 2020 by ISTAT and Eurostat data, which shows that in Italy, unemployment is much higher among women than men. Attention to these issues comes not only from within, but also – and above all – from outside. Gender equality is one of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals included in the UN 2030 Agenda in 2015, and the EU has launched the Action Plan on Gender Equality for the five-year period between 2015 and 2020. Where does Italy stand on gender equality? What emerges is a rather uncomfortable and worrying scenario. Gender inequality is one of the objectives on which Italy has achieved the worst results, as emerges from the latest Report presented in connection with the 2020 Budget Law. According to the Word Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Gender Gap Report, the gender gap is experienced all over the world. The prediction is that gender balance will be achieved in 99.5 years at the earliest. Italy is placed 76th out of 153 in the European rankings – at the bottom of the list of the main developed countries”.
Maria Rita Fortunato ended her speech by mentioning her experience at Nexumstp, a company that assists more than ten thousand small and medium-sized enterprises in Italy thanks to the work of more than 500 collaborators: She stated, “The uncertainty that has overwhelmed our lives – particularly when it comes to the management of the current global health, climate and economic emergencies – has spurred us at Nexumstp to adopt an inclusive, gentle style of leadership that has several similarities with the female leadership style. This approach, in which we strongly believe, helps our organisation to distance itself from the hierarchical approach to people management and the ‘command-and-control’ mindset that stifles individual responsibility. Instead, it is oriented towards validation of input, rather than output. Our approach is aware of biases and operates transparently to ensure meritocracy. It admits its mistakes and creates a welcoming space for employees to make their contributions. Finally, it is driven by cultural intelligence and an interest in people, by showing the ability to listen empathically and with an open mind.”