1 University of Rome Unitelma Sapienza (ITALY)
2 Orientale University of Naples (ITALY)
3 Ministry of Education (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 4637-4643
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.0908
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
According to the latest OECD report (2017), Italy records just 18% of graduates, compared to 37% of the average in the OECD area - the second lowest after Mexico. These figures may be partly due to insufficient job prospects and low financial returns as a result of the graduation. Moreover, over 30% of graduate are in Literature, Political Science, Sociology, Communication, Arts, while 25% (versus 37 % in Germany and 29% in the UK) graduate in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, grouped under the acronym STEM. This situation has negative consequences for the employment rate of graduates. Indeed, the employment rate within the STEM graduates is 82%, (85% for engineering), in the economic-legal 81%, while for humanities 74%. The choices of graduates seem not to be related to the emerging needs of the economy. In this context, the most penalized are women, who most often graduate in low employable disciplines. Literature shows that on a global scale women are more difficult to work than men, and that they tend to earn less on equal terms (Tzannatos, 1999; Duflo, 2005; World Bank; 2011; OECD, 2017).

In Italy, women access universities more than males (55% to 45%), graduate more than males (59% to 41%) and also more than the average OECD (57%). Despite that, the wages of female graduates are equal to 72% of male graduates and the overall financial return in terms of costs and benefits for a woman who decides to graduate is equal 54% of the total financial return of a male and to 65% of the average OECD.

The employment gap of women in Italy translates into a disadvantage to national production, as evidenced by the abundant literature linking the gender gap in education and the labor market to economic growth (Barro & Lee, 1994; Dollar & Gatti, 1999 Klasen & Lamanna, 2009).

Our paper focuses on the italian case to understand which are the variables that can explain the educational choices of girls, even in the light of the environmental conditions in which such choices are made. For example, we know from the Mentoring Hypothesis that a greater presence of girls enrolled in the STEM faculties would induce an increasing number of girls to choose these faculties. This is why for our model we chose those proxies that could help us understanding the phenomenon, also in terms of the overall leadership of women in the country.

What emerges from our study is that the gender gap in education in Italy is the result of a context in which women, though more educated than men, fail to find good employment opportunities, as a result of the educational choices they made, but also of the overall underrepresentation of women in the Italian society.
Education, Women, STEM, Development, Growth, Inclusion, Diversity.