UniCamillus gender balance event 2023: the Honourable Ms Maria Elena Boschi inaugurates a parent and child parking bay

On Tuesday, May 23rd, the presentation of the 2023 Gender Balance event at the International Medical University of Rome took place in the Aula Magna of UniCamillus. The ceremony was attended by distinguished guests such as the Honourable Ms Maria Elena Boschi, former Minister for Equal Opportunities during the Renzi government (2014-2016), and Dr. Jessica Faroni, entrepreneur and president of AIOP Associazione Italiana dell’ospedalità privata) the Italian Association of Private Healthcare.

Professor Sofia Colaceci, Delegate of the Rector for Equal Opportunities and President of the University’s Single Guarantee Committee, presented data on gender distribution in various components and governance roles of the University. The Gender Balance Report is a document recommended by the directive “Measures to implement equality and equal opportunities between men and women in public administrations” (Official Gazette no. 173 of July 27, 2007), and the report (the full data can ben consulted here) presented this week revealed a commendable picture for UniCamillus, which has achieved significantly better levels in recent years compared to the national average.

“Let’s imagine that these numbers will soon change at higher levels,” said the Honourable Ms Boschi in her speech, “both in teaching and in roles of responsibility and university management. I am glad that this is also an opportunity to reflect together on what we can still improve in society in general.” The member of the parliament then recounted the difficulties she faced in her professional and political life due to her being a woman. She emphasized a general historical aspect with particular emphasis: “If we think about the entire history of humanity and imagine it as one of the diagrams shown to us earlier by Professor Colaceci, the line describing the evolution of women’s rights and equal opportunities is essentially a flat line, constant, where the level of women’s rights was practically zero. Yes, there may have been exceptions in the history of women who excelled in science, art, or held political power, but they were so rare, occasional, that they probably couldn’t even make a variation in this continuous line. Imperceptible aspects in the big numbers. Then there was a sort of earthquake, and the line suddenly skyrocketed. On the subject, precisely, of women’s rights and gender equality. But let’s talk about the last century when a series of achievements were made that still exist for us women. Particularly in our country, many changes are so recent and so fragile that they must be defended at all costs, every day.”

Dr. Faroni echoed these sentiments: “When I enrolled in university, there were many more men than women, but it was mainly due to a social factor. I remember my father saying, ‘Are you crazy?! You need a job to stay at home, because you must have children.’ It sounds like we’re talking about the 1800s. But no, it wasn’t even 50 years ago. That was the first of many difficulties I had to face. And this way of thinking, which unfortunately still prevails in our society, stems from the fact that we are still a predominantly rural country in many aspects. The concept of men working and women staying at home is still widespread. Evolution is happening, fortunately, but it is still slow. Today, however, we need to speed it up: the time has come to accelerate the process, also by looking at the data from other countries.”

During the event, there was also an opportunity to present the first UniCamillus baby card to Eleonora Baldassari, a student at the University who is already a mother and expecting her second child. She, along with all the other women and mothers of UniCamillus who request it from now on, will be guaranteed a series of services offered by the University, such as priority in offices, at the bar, and in taking exams, as well as access to the baby pit-stop for breastfeeding and the possibility of parking their cars in reserved spaces. After the presentation, Hon. Boschi and UniCamillus Rector Professor Gianni Profita inaugurated the parking areas marked with pink lines, specifically designated for pregnant students.

Following the speeches, students had the opportunity to ask Honourable Boschi some questions. It was inevitable not to ask for her comment on the significant novelty in Italian politics: the presence, for the first time, of a female Prime Minister. “Giorgia Meloni has done well to achieve this milestone, and credit must be given to her for having achieved it with consensus, with votes, with her political journey, and also with many years of commitment and work,” declared the parliamentarian unequivocally, highlighting her admiration for the Prime Minister’s political trajectory, despite sitting on the opposition benches. “For me, it is a positive result for all women because, precisely, it gives the idea that such a milestone is no longer impossible.”

However, with great power comes great responsibility. In fact, the parliamentarian also issued a warning to the current head of government: “Now President Meloni has the responsibility to lay the foundations and pave the way for others as well. Such an important achievement cannot solely improve the condition of an individual. We will evaluate her actions over time. As Madeleine Albright said, ‘There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’”