Gordini and Rancati explore the Italian labour market, which is characterised by a limited participation of women. They suggest the market experiences horizontal and vertical segregation. Horizontal segregation affects women mainly in education, textile industries and health services, while there also seems to be fewer than less women in the top sector corporations. At vertical segregation, female employees tend to be in low and middle level positions.Italian companies are mostly family controlled firms which represent the Italian economic system. Family controlled firms mostly tend to adopt conservative and risk adverse management policies. Such ownerships seem to be associated with agency problems, so mangers performing in the interest of dominating majority shareholders at the expense of minority shareholders.
The Italian government have attempted to resolve these issues by law and self-regulation; for example requiring the presence of an independent director from the companies’ management and control.Recently in Italy gender equality has become a political agenda; especially due to a high level profile of corporate failures. The number of seats held by women in the boardroom has increased from 5.
9 per cent in 2008 to 22.2 per cent in 2014 and the number of companies with one female director on board has increased from 126 in 2008 to 220 in 2014, suggesting that 9 out of 10 firms have both genders on board. Despite these figures however, women continue to hold fewer corporate seats, representing Italian listed companies. In Italy board candidates are mostly recruited from connected business people rather than from the direct labour market, to be selected, candidates may need to influence existing members by assuring them they embody the same values and norms.
However this seems to be the situation for most countries with the “old boys” network scheme, as existing board members elect new candidates generating members with a similar mentality of business ethics and culture.