Enlarge image

The right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni wants to introduce a male quota in schools – but only in the top posts


For the first time, Italy is advertising management positions in schools and giving preference to men: because there are many more female principals than male principals, male applicants with the same qualifications will be given preference from the new school year onwards when management positions are to be filled. With a corresponding decree, the right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni wants to ensure a better balance between the sexes, according to its own statements.

The regulation, which was announced by decree in June, is called "Quota blu" in Italian, or blue quota, but there are no plans for an actual quota system: the proportion of men is to be increased, but there are no concrete targets. This means that if only one woman proves to be suitable for a position, she should be accepted despite the new requirement.

Proportion of women in primary schools: 95 per cent

In Italy, teaching children has traditionally tended to be a women's profession: as early as the 19th century, there were more female teachers than male teachers, as the newspaper »Corriere della Sera« reports. Today, the proportion of women is 83 percent, and at primary schools it is as high as 95 percent. In the past, however, men were in the majority in top positions – but this ratio has now also been reversed.

The president of the Italian Association of School Principals, Antonello Giannelli, described the new regulation as "positive" and "fair". He told the Adnkronos news agency: "We are doing today what was done yesterday with reversed roles."

In the upcoming application round, almost 590 positions are at stake. The "quota blu" is to be applied in regions where the gap between the sexes is more than 30 percentage points, i.e. almost everywhere: According to the Rome-based newspaper "Il Messagero", only in Sardinia is the proportion of men already high enough – it is therefore 38.25 percent.