April 17, 2024

Our work on DEI

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Social Justice as core mission of Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini

Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini (FGB) is an Italian independent research centre inspired by the principles of labour and social inclusion, gender equality, cultural diversity and respect for fundamental human rights, welfare promotion, territorial cohesion, sustainability, and technological innovation to boost economic growth, attention to the environment, access to employment through new skills, and participation for local development. 

The main purpose of FGB is the creation of social impact through the promotion of study and research, the design and evaluation of public policies, the planning of actions, as well as education and cultural production, which have an impact on the territories, organisations, and people who form the community in which the company grows and operates at national and international level.

Knowledge, we believe, is the cornerstone to progress.
Change, we believe, can only happen when you have a deep understanding, the passion to apply it, and the drive to improve people’s lives.

In the last years, FGB has focused on the implementation of an intersectional approach: between 2020 and 2022, FGB has taken part in the Consortium of GRASE – Gender and Race Stereotypes Eradication in labour market access project, funded under European REC – Rights, Equality and Citizenship program, focusing on facilitating the access of women with a migratory background to the labour market by reducing barriers in the career service’s system. Currently, it is in the Consortium of FreeALL – Inclusive services for All LGBTQI people, which is a two-year project funded by the European Union under the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV) which aims to protect and promote the rights and values enshrined in the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, by developing territorial networks and services in collaboration with different public and private actors combating gender-based violence, but still do not cooperate with LGBTQIA+ communities and people.

Importantly, FGB serves as the national contact point for the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) monitoring the promotion and protection of human rights in the EU. Additionally, FGB acts as the national correspondent for Eurofound, the European agency responsible for monitoring working conditions.


The advanced training course in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Far before the diversity and inclusion wave became very popular in Italy, in 2012, FGB decided to give birth to the first Italian advanced program on Gender equality and diversity and inclusion (Master GEDM), adopting from the very beginning a transformational approach – combining theory and call to action and focusing on designing within the training team the systemic initiatives suitable to activate in working organisations their transformation into inclusive workplaces.

Since the very beginning, participants are called to develop a diversity and inclusion project as part of their training pathway.
This exercise, implemented in small groups, helps them to focus on the need to implement a diversity and inclusion assessment of the context to identify inclusion gaps, set priorities, define actions and set indicators for monitoring.

The Master GEDM coordination team believes that diversity is not only a matter of visible and invisible characteristics but involves diverse mindsets and the capacity to create synergies with persons bringing to the team informational diversities.

A critical approach has been maintained through the 16 editions, with a constant effort by the coordination team to follow the debate at the EU and Italian levels, adapt to emerging sensitiveness and question the challenges in implementing DEI approaches. Indeed, recent reflections have been introduced on how diversity and inclusion initiatives need to be mainstreamed in new emerging domains such artificial intelligence, environmental concerns, sustainability, transports, new skills and new jobs.

In 2021, a pilot European edition of the Master GEDM (IncludEU – Advanced Training Course on ‘Building Diverse and Inclusive Workplaces in Europe’)  – was launched. The pilot experience was partly successful, although it underlined the need for the introduction of a wider European perspective.
Since then, the Board of IncludEU has been enlarged, and the programme is currently under revision: a new edition will be launched soon.

In May 2023, a community dedicated to the Master GEDM alumni was launched, as a way to keep people in contact and also offer “safe” spaces where to discuss critical challenges of the emerging diversity wave (How can measure impact? Which actions are effective in promoting a more inclusive environment? How can we avoid “diversity washing”? How can we avoid being biased when assessing implicit bias?).
The community is growing with learning services dedicated to participants.

Gender Equality Plans and consultancy services

FGB has been involved in the designing and implementation of GESI (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion) and GEPs (Gender Equality Plans)*. 

Notably, in 2017, FGB collaborated with the European Parliament Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality to study gender equality plans in the private and public sectors within the European Union. Effective gender equality plans (GEPs) were found to incorporate tailored quantitative and qualitative indicators, along with gender competence training. From 2018 to 2021, FGB participated in the TARGET project, funded by Horizon 2020. TARGET focused on advancing gender equality in research and innovation by defining a reflexive approach to institutional change. This approach involved gender-based organizational assessments and engaged internal stakeholders from the outset. Additionally, FGB coordinated the GENIS – LAB project between 2011 and 2014, aiming to overcome barriers limiting women’s participation in scientific research.

The GEP methodology includes tailored approaches for gender and inclusion organisational assessment, identification of training needs, designing of tailored training pathways on several contents (implicit bias, gender stereotypes, micro-aggressions, gender and research), definition and implementation of inclusive leadership programmes, designed on the specific needs of leaders in the scientific research field.

Moving from the experience implemented in the framework of GEPs and EU-funded projects, in 2022 FGB has offered consultancy services to four different scientific research organisations in Italy and Europe – namely the Institute Pasteur, San Raffaele Hospital, Vita-Salute University, Toscana Life Sciences through the elaboration and approval of their gender equality plans. All organisations involved were characterised by high levels of complexity and were united by the need to define a sustainable gender action plan in order to be able to continue submitting proposals for funding from the Horizon Europe Programme. In 2023, two more organisations have been supported – Consorzio Proplast, Fondazione CMCC – Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici – the latter focusing on environmental issues in the Mediterranean area. The gender equality plans elaborated for the above-mentioned organisations are based on the gender-disaggregated data collection for the analysis and monitoring/evaluation of gender dynamics for the purpose of the reduction of gender gaps.

In 2023, FGB has joined as partner of the Consortium, the project ‘GILL – Gendered Innovation Living Labs’, funded by Horizon Europe. GILL project aims at addressing gender and diversity blindness in the Living Lab discourse and practices for: enabling organisational and cultural changes, enhancing professional development, increasing the integration of gender and diversity into product design, technologies, and innovation, and allowing gendered educational practices in the domains: Health and resilience, Green transition and Digital transformation.

In the last five years, FGB has increased its consultancy and training activity working with a wide range of private clients: small and large companies, public entities, research centres, non-profit organisations, social partners. These activities include participation as speakers in seminars or webinars on diversity and inclusion awareness raising (among the clients: ACEA, Unicredit, Emerem, ADECCO, Comune di Bologna, Provincia di Varese, The Left, European Parliament, PVH, La Piazza Group, Trentino School of Management, Confartigianato, CNA, Colgate, ENEL, Fondazione Libellula, CGIL, UIL, American Academy in Rome, Fondazione Regionale Ricerca Biomedica Regione Lombardia, CEC European Managers).

 * GEPs are a tool for the promotion of gender mainstreaming through organisational assessment and institutional change.
Since 2020 Gender Equality Plans are compulsory for research performing organisations submitting proposals for funding to the Horizon Europe DG Research programme.