What is the certification of gender equality, among the pillars of the PNRR

THEThe PNRR (ie the National Recovery and Resilience Plan) provides funding and relief to cover gender gap and promote social integration. Here is what it consists of certification of gender equality

Gender equality is one of the 17 goals identified by the UN for sustainable development and is one of the pillars of the Italian PNRR. Specifically, point no. 5, called “Inclusion and Cohesion”, foresees a total allocation of 22.6 billion to facilitate citizens’ participation in the labor market, including through training, strengthening active policies and promoting social inclusion.

Why so much attention? The importance of these matters becomes immediately apparent if we only consider that according to Global Gender Gap Index 2023 No country has yet achieved full gender equality and that Italy ranks 79th out of 146 countries.

Among the initiatives that, starting from 2022, are part of this route within our national territory, we must definitely include the so-called Certification of gender equality.

What is gender equality certification?

It is a certificate issued by an accredited certification body that can be obtained by companies that meet the requirements set out in the UNI/PdR 125:2022 practice published on March 16, 2022, precisely by UNI which is the Italian standardization body.

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The UNI Practice is currently the only national standard on the subject and was prepared by a broad panel of stakeholders, who have reconstructed the state of the art in thinking and acting on the subject of ‘gender equality’. This practice, in fact, was developed with the aim of defining criteria, technical measures and operational interventions to ensure the effectiveness of gender equality within businesses.

The regulatory reference source on which the Practice is based is the so-called Bonetti Decree of April 29, 2022, which expressly states that “the minimum parameters for achieving gender equality certification for companies are those listed in UNI Reference Practice /PdR 125 : 2022, published on 16 March 2022, containing “Guidelines for the management system for gender equality which provides for the adoption of specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) inherent in gender equality policies in organizations” and subsequent amendments or additions ยป.

Obtaining the certification reinforces companies’ commitment to develop and communicate policies related to gender equality and focuses on encouraging the adoption of new policies that are increasingly inclusive.

How gender equality certification works

The certification is carried out on a voluntary basis and at the request of the company.

Special bodies accredited by Accredia (Single National Accreditation Body) are responsible for issuing the certification.

This is a kind of test. If the Company wants to be certified, it must have at least passability (60%) in relation to specific indicators, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), in relation to 6 evaluation areas:

  • Culture and strategy
  • Governance
  • Human Resources Procedures
  • Opportunities for development and inclusion of women in the company
  • Gender pay equality
  • Protecting parenthood and work-life balance.

In the salary element, for example, the following elements are evaluated: the difference in compensation between men and women for the same rank (if it is lower or higher than 10%) or the share of promoted women in the total female population compared to that of of men.

Again, parental support measures, access to smart work contracts, presence of company nurseries and so on are assessed.

Certification is valid for three years and is subject to annual monitoring.

Why it’s worth doing a gender equality certification

As stated on the government website “The purpose of the Gender Equality Certification Scheme for Companies is to encourage the adoption of gender equality and women’s empowerment policies at company level and thereby improve women’s ability to access the labor market, leadership and the harmonization of work and life time“.

To achieve this goal, some important rewards have been established by law. And indeed, considering the starting point – still rather late – of most companies in the matter Diversity & Inclusionthe presence of a representative represents an essential element so that companies can be motivated to adopt inclusive policies.

According to the so-called Gribaudo law, specifically, companies with gender equality certification are granted:

  • exemption from paying a percentage of the total social security contributions paid by the employer;
  • reward score for the evaluation of project proposals, from authorities with national and regional European funds, for the purposes of granting state aid to co-finance the investments supported;
  • higher score associated with having gender certification in public competitions.

It is estimated that in January 2023 there were around 200 certified Italian companies.

We hope that this tool, with all the critical issues associated with a still rather ‘official’ rating system for companies, can be a further step towards overcoming resistance to cultural change in terms of gender equality and contribute, more or less generally measure, to create a more equal society.

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