A split country

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The presentation of the new SVIMEZ  report on economy in the South gives us back, seven years after the beginning of the crisis, the image of an “even more divided and unequal country.” Whereas in the center and in the north, the current year has shown some slight signs of recovery, the decline in production activity has been much more marked in the South, with the appearance of “not only transient but structural” negative effects. That’s why it is no longer put off a comprehensive policy approach that puts necessarily centered on the issue of the South; without it the country can hardly begin to resume growth. This north-south lack of evenness is further reflected by the labor market, especially in the inequality among sexes and generations.

Between 2008 and 2014, youth employment has decreased in Italy by more than 1 million 900 thousand (-27.7%). On a regional basis employees aged 15-34 have dropped by 31.9% in the South and by 26.0% in the Centre and North of the country. Also the trend in unemployment is significant: in 2014 the unemployment rate among young people between 15 and 24 years of age reached 43% on a national level, which is the average between 56% in the South and  35% in the Central and Northern regions. Have almost doubled, compared to 2008, also the unemployment rates of young people between 25 and 34 years (31.2% in the South, 12.9% in the Centre-North), a sign of difficulty highly qualified young people experience in accessing the labor market. In the South there are almost two-thirds of young people who do not study, do not work and are not looking for a job, the so-called Neet increased in 2014, compared to 2008, by 712,000 units and reached a total number of 3 million 512 thousand. Nearly 2 million of them are women (55.6%) and nearly 2 million are in the South. The most striking data are still those of young women between 15 and 34 of whom only 20.8% have a job in the South, which is more than 20 points below the average  in the Center and in the North, and 30 points below the European average.

It is not a chance that, as women inside the syndicate, we have been repeating for a long time now that young, woman, and from the south, is currently the identikit of the lack of work in our country. This situation reflects the fact that we are dealing with a phenomenon that is not connected only to generations and sexes, but has also strong territorial connotations. The overall female employment 2008-2014 slightly increased in the Centre-North, 135,000 units more (+ 1.9%), while there was a substantial decline in the South, 71,000 units less (-3,2%). The increase in female employment in the Centre-North, moreover, concerns only the foreign component (+ 51.3%), compared to a decrease (-3.4%) among Italian women. Besides, the evolution of the labor market for women configures a growing “qualitative” emergency with an increase in low-skilled positions (+ 14%) and a decrease of about 10% in intellectual and technical posts. This is even more problematic if you look at the levels of education among women, especially those in the south, which have grown in recent years to the point of exceeding education rates among men by 9%.

For us, CISL women, the crucial issue for the support and maintenance of policies of women’s inclusion in the labor market, however, is not connected only to the ability of adopting effective plans for economic development, but also to the capacity of implementing tools and measures which favor access to the labor market, but will also protect their permanence there. Development and employment, especially of young people and women are a central question for CISL and the National Coordination of Women, while being aware that development and growth in Italy cannot but pass through promotion and enhance of women’s work and the principle of equality and equal opportunities in the workplaces and in all the sectors of social and economic life of the country.

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