Reducing the Gender Gap with Corporate Welfare

gender gap

Measured since 2006 by the of the World Economic Forum (WEF) del World Economic Forum (WEF), the through the Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI), the Gender Gap is a disparity that reflects the differences between men and women in four key dimensions: economic participation and opportunity, education, health and survival, and political empowerment.


  1. What is the Gender Gap
  2. The Most Virtuous Countries
  3. Causes of the Gender Gap
  4. Gender Gap in Italy
  5. The Corporate Welfare Tool

What is the Gender Gap

The Gender Gap, or gender disparity, is a persistent reality that permeates many aspects of society including professional ones. The GGGI assesses the current state and evolution of gender equality. In 2023, the GGGI showed that despite some progress, the global gap remains significant, with only 68.4% closed and estimates predicting 131 years to achieve full parity.

Which Country Has the Most Gender Equality

According to data published in 2023, among 146 monitored countries, Iceland has led the world in gender equality for 14 consecutive years with a gap closure rate of 91.2%. Europe surpasses North America (at 75%), recording the highest gender equality among all regions globally, with 76.3%. One-third of European countries rank among the top 20 (four in the top five), and more than half (56%) have achieved at least 75% gender parity. However, Italy's gender gap has widened compared to 2022, dropping from 63rd to 79th place with a score of 70.5%, alongside countries like Belarus, Botswana, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mozambique, Oman, Panama, Serbia, Trinidad and Tobago.

Causes of the Gender Gap

The causes of the Gender Gap are numerous, often rooted in cultural legacies that confine women to unpaid roles of motherhood and household caretaking. This is compounded by the lack of effective policies and plans aimed at achieving equality.
Consequently, the burden of unpaid care work (caring for children and elderly or dependent family members) disproportionately falls on women, contributing to an unequal distribution of domestic labor. Based on a pre-pandemic analysis by the World Economic Forum of 33 countries representing 54% of the global working-age population, the percentage of time men dedicate to unpaid work relative to total work is 19%, while for women it is 55%. These figures worsened during the pandemic due to the closure of schools and care facilities. Additionally, women face consistently higher unemployment rates and stress levels.
These expectations also reflect in the workplace, where women seldom hold senior or leadership positions in both public and private sectors and politics. Despite having higher educational levels than men, women continue to be underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields, resulting in a loss of talent and opportunities that could benefit society as a whole.

Gender Gap in Italian Companies

These macro-level considerations are evident in most Italian companies where, often in the face of specific family needs, women are forced to take leave, opt for part-time work, or, in the worst case, leave their jobs, depriving the company of an already trained resource. Additionally, the gender pay gap leads to demotivation among female employees and a lack of loyalty towards the company. The consequence is that a lack of equal opportunities during the hiring phase excludes capable and talented women from the labor market, besides being an unsustainable form of social inequality.

Addressing the Gender Gap: Corporate Welfare

Companies can play a crucial role in reducing the gender gap, and corporate welfare emerges as an effective tool to tackle this challenge. The Gender Equality Certification (UNI/PdR 125:2022) is an example of an initiative promoting women's participation in the labor market and ensuring fair treatment between genders.
Through corporate welfare, companies can implement a series of initiatives aimed at improving the well-being of female employees and fostering a better work-life balance. These initiatives may include:

  • Non-emergency smart working: new organizational models that support a better balance between work and personal life through technology.
  • Internal or partnered nurseries: facilitating work-family balance, reducing absenteeism related to family responsibilities, and improving employee productivity.
  • Elder care: providing home health care support and other services to help female employees manage the challenges of caring for elderly relatives.
  • Supplementary pensions: offering an additional pension to ensure greater financial security for employees at the end of their working lives.
  • Supplementary health care: facilitating access to oncology screening programs and providing psychological support in balancing maternity and work, thereby promoting the health and well-being of female employees.
  • Summer camps and income support: Offering contributions for enrolling children in summer camps and providing additional financial support, alleviating the financial burden on employees with families.

Implementing these initiatives not only builds a positive corporate culture and fosters a sense of belonging among employees but also serves as a powerful tool to enhance the company's reputation and attract the best talent on the market.

Reducing the Gender Gap requires a collective and multidimensional commitment, and corporate welfare stands as a fundamental pillar in creating a fair, inclusive, and sustainable work environment for all.