AXA Italia, the AXA Research Fund and Bocconi University renew their commitment to the AXA Research Lab on Gender Equality


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AXA and Bocconi renew their commitment to continue promoting gender equality and women's empowerment through scientific research. 

AXA Italia, the AXA Research Fund and Bocconi University, still together for a further 3 years to support gender equality, inclusion and women's empowerment through the AXA Research Lab on Gender Equality, born in 2020 to promote academic research and develop policy recommendations that inform and guide the action of key players in the economic and political sphere.

The AXA Research Lab on Gender Equality aims to investigate the roots of gender gaps and how to close them, through the formulation of recommendations addressed to policy makers.

 Bocconi, through rigorous and interdisciplinary research, is constantly engaged in the critical analysis of the social and economic structures that underlie inequalities and, through the AXA Lab in particular, of the gender gap and gender discrimination. We are convinced that the promotion of gender equality is not only a moral duty, but also a catalyst for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Eliminating these disparities in work and the economy would not only lead to greater well-being and prosperity for women but would also contribute to a fairer and more resilient society for all. Only through joint efforts and an inclusive vision can we build a future where every individual can realize their full potential, regardless of gender.

Francesco Billari Rector of Bocconi University

Established in 2020 and led by Professor Paola Profeta, Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Sustainability and Full Professor of Finance at Bocconi University, one of the leading international experts on Gender and Public Policy, the Lab represents a unique example in Italy.

Centre of excellence and innovation, it has been operating for 3 years by adopting a rigorous scientific methodology, an interdisciplinary approach in the fields of economics and gender policies and a European perspective.

Its goals are to increase awareness of gender disparities in society, explore opportunities for women in the economy, encourage institutional decision-makers to act, and build a more inclusive society, to achieve the goal set in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Since its inception, the Lab has worked on 6 research streams (education; work, family and fertility; culture; politics; women's empowerment; policy), exploring the theme of gender equality at 360° and has carried out 35 research projects, 125 conferences, seminars, lectures, 111 publications and 3 annual events.

Of significant impact and scientific relevance, the results achieved so far include, for example: in the workplace research has been done to measure unconscious gender bias in management and its impact on selection processes, limiting women's access to roles of power, and studying the negative correlation between work environments characterized by a lack of attention to harassment phenomena or hyper-competitive masculinity models and female careers.

In the field of education, great attention has been given to the issue of gender divide in STEM subjects, highlighting the need for an intervention on the current models of assessment of skills, basically based on multiple-choice and timed tests, which tend to penalize women. Additionally, emphasis has been placed on the importance of working on role models to break down stereotypes that lead girls and boys to consider certain jobs as being for either women or men.

 Reducing the gender gap is an unavoidable moral and economic imperative that requires appropriate policy actions, which in turn can only succeed if supported by rigorous research into the root causes of gender inequalities. With Bocconi and the AXA Research Fund, we have created a unique and distinctive example in this regard, which we are very proud to continue supporting, fully aware that there is still much to be done to eliminate gender gaps, and that this challenge involves all actors in our society: institutions, companies, and the research world. Gender equality, inclusion, and female empowerment are pillars of AXA's strategy, a commitment that we foster as an employer towards our people, as a company towards the market and our clients, and also towards society, with concrete projects like this, through which we aim to contribute to producing the essential cultural change necessary to build more inclusive and sustainable societies, where being a woman is not a risk.

Chiara Soldano CEO of the AXA Italy Insurance Group

Furthermore, in the political and economic field, the research conducted has contributed to highlighting the positive relationship between gender equality and wealth redistribution systems.

On the social front, a strong correlation has been demonstrated between issues related to an aging population and the gender divide: in countries where women participate more in the labor market, fertility rates are higher, suggesting that gender equality in the labor market can balance the ageing process. Additionally, in the family sphere, the study and measurement of the impact of Covid in terms of the she-cession, as well as its long-term effects such as the redistribution of family workload thanks to the greater spread of smart working models.

At the core of the new commitment for the next 3 years, a further boost to research with a specific focus on the labor market, including the study, for example, of the impact of gender stereotypes on selection decisions; in politics, with the aim of continuing to provide policy recommendations to promote gender equality; in education, with a further focus on women's access to STEM subjects. 

As part of the new initiatives, there are also specific projects on increasingly relevant topics, such as studying of the effects of AI on gender inequality, potential biases in the workplace related to specific clusters (i.e. working mothers, single mothers, women with disabilities, LGBTQ+), gender gaps and caregivers.

At the AXA Research Fund we truly believe in pushing the boundaries of science and thought leadership to bridge the gap on Gender Equality. The AXA Research Lab at Bocconi University, developed in close partnership with AXA Italia, is tangible proof of the AXA Group’s commitment to supporting society at large in further reducing the gender gap.  I believe that by funding philanthropical research, and therefore science-based decision-making methods, we can play a pivotal role in fortifying and adapting our societies. Thanks to Professor Paola Profeta, and her team, we will approach the future with greater confidence -- in full line with, and reaffirming, support for AXA’s inclusive strategy 

Julia d'Astorg Head of the AXA Research Fund

Learn more on the AXA Research Lab on Gender Equality

 The AXA Research Lab on Gender Equality at Bocconi University aims to improve our understanding of gender gaps and how to reduce them by examining the risks and opportunities for women in the economy through three simultaneous research streams. 

Funded Projects

Seven Reasons More Female Leaders Would Be a Positive Step for the Climate

 In an article for The Conversation, Prof. Paola Profeta, Director of the AXA Research Lab on Gender Equality at Bocconi University, delves into the potential impact of female leadership in driving much-needed change on climate-related issues. 

Read the article