“Farnesina Gender Equality Champions” is an initiative launched in 2021 and inspired by the UN model of the “International Gender Champions”, which sees officials – serving both in the central administration and in the foreign offices – undertake, on a voluntary basis, to fulfil a number of annual commitments (the so-called “pledges”) aimed at actively promoting gender equality.
This is an issue to which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is already strongly committed, not only in the fulfilment of legal obligations, but also in the belief that enhancing women’s contribution is an enrichment for the Administration itself and for the country. In this regard, with a view to ensuring equal opportunities, Circular No. 3/2021 was adopted on October 15 last, with which the Foreign Ministry conforms to the highest standards for promoting gender equality, reaffirming the need to ensure – in daily work – the concrete implementation of the constitutional principle of equality, understood both as the prohibition of discrimination and as the proactive promotion of actual equality. In the same Circular, the Foreign Ministry undertook to adopt and uphold the highest standards on gender equality, in tune with its main international partners and multilateral organisations.
Promoting adequate female participation in meetings both in Italy and abroad; making the composition of evaluation committees and working groups as equal as possible; carefully considering female candidates in positions where women are under-represented, provided they can boast equal merits; organising work so that it can be balanced with private life as much as possible; protecting parenthood: these are just some of the measures suggested to achieve the goals set.
With the “Gender Equality Champions” project, the Foreign Ministry aims to define and implement further positive practices in all its structures and to ensure that the goal of gender equality gains increasing support. The initiative requires each “gender equality champion” to commit to promoting gender equality in their organisations.
PROPOSALS FOR PLEDGES
1) Arrange the panel parity pledge also internally, ensuring that there is an adequate female presence in the meetings organised by your organisation or in the relevant delegations.
2) Organise work in a way that is favourable to work-life balance; do not organise meetings that end after 6 p.m. and avoid work engagements at weekends and on public holidays.
3) Reward the employees’ constructive behaviour also from a gender perspective, through the dissemination of information in all directions and internal learning processes, i.e. triggering virtuous and collaborative competition.
4) Ban sexist language, comments and jokes about female colleagues and women in general, especially in the presence of external and foreign counterparts.
5) Give external visibility to women’s work, e.g. by including at least one woman on each panel in the events organised by the network and ensuring female representation at events with external counterparts.
6) Encourage the candidacies of your own staff for short maternity leave replacement missions – consistently with the office needs.
7) Include gender equality among the topics of initial interviews and talks upon the arrival of officials/staff, etc., as a principle embedded in the working methods at the structure led.
8) Encourage female applications for top and senior positions; entrust responsibility tasks and positions to women; trust women and give them confidence.
9) Consider the family needs of employees, aides and collaborators when deciding on transfers, holidays, etc., which shall be planned as far in advance as possible.
10) Ensure that the organisation of work guarantees the utmost respect and protection for maternity in order to optimise the work-life balance in this regard as well.
11) Promote transparency and open communication on goals and procedures in order to facilitate the most effective adoption of gender equality measures.
12) Monitor the implementation of what envisaged above, also through regular staff meetings.
13) Favouring/encouraging staff participation in training and information initiatives on equal opportunities, work-life balance and organisational wellbeing.
14) Promoting a gender perspective in the organisation of work, which takes into account the goals of gender equality and the fight against all forms of discrimination, in the planning and implementation of office activity.