Monday, 7 September 2020

Equal opportunities and inclusion: good practices at UniTrento

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A meeting took place days ago in Trento between the Minister for equal opportunities and family and members of local institutions and entities on the themes of good practices, models and initiatives to encourage equality.

Representatives of the Equality and Diversity Office of the University of Trento were among the participants, and took advantage of the opportunity to present to the minister the initiatives adopted by the University to reduce the gender gap in the academic environment.

These include some innovative approaches that are not very common in Italy: actions aimed at the reconciliation of work and family life, a gender assessment, guidelines to promote gender diversity in events ,and a language that respects differences.

But also, in the area of inclusion and people's empowerment, the project aimed at refugees and asylum seekers.

The University of Trento also offered some concrete proposals that could be implemented: the creation of a mechanism that benefits the universities that encourage equal opportunities; measures to support staff with fixed term contracts; initiatives to include gender education in school programmes.

Other themes were discussed during the meeting, which was also attended by the president and some representatives of the Provincial committee for equal opportunities and of Alfid: the impact of the health emergency on women-run businesses and domestic violence, the role of the third sector, and policies to encourage healthy relationships between partners and former partners and parents and children.

Many good practices were shared. In particular, the minister underlined the importance of synchronizing actions and projects with the efforts put forth, at different levels, by local public organizations, universities and the third sector.

She emphasized the importance of culture to dispel widespread gender stereotypes, which lead to discrimination and exclude women from knowledge in some areas, in particular the IT sector and STEM fields. To tackle this problem, underlined the minister, it is fundamental to provide education to women so that they can achieve the skills required to find employment and gain personal and financial independence.

The minister welcomed the educational projects implemented in schools, which involved universities, because they can raise awareness on the subject by providing role models of women who set an example in science, art, politics or the economy.

The Covid-19 emergency, added the minister, also revealed the weaknesses of women in society and in work settings. Diversity is a value for the university, and the roles of people must be interpreted together with their identity: that is why it is important to use a language that respects differences. The meeting also focused on families for their central role in society and education, where genders and generations meet and because children are a value for communities.

The minister expressed appreciation for the Family Audit initiative adopted by the University of Trento.