Gender equality: the first certification bodies accredited in Italy

Accredia has just accredited the first three certification bodies, which will be able to certify companies on the basis of the Practice UNI/PdR 125:2022, which provides for measures aimed at ensuring gender equality and the balance between men and women on tasks, opportunities and wages in the workplace.

Accreditation according to the UNI CEI EN ISO/IEC 17021-1 standard was approved by the Sectoral Accreditation Committee of the Certification and Inspection Department. For this purpose, Accredia has assessed the competence and impartiality of the bodies also by verifying the qualifications of the assessors in charge of company audits. Among the requirements, there are in fact the knowledge of the UNI EN ISO 9001 standard, of the UNI/PdR on gender equality and of the ISO 30415 guideline on Human resource management – Diversity and inclusion.

In addition, on-site assessments must be carried out by a labor lawyer or labor consultant or other professional who demonstrates consolidated experience in the field of gender equality. Not surprisingly, in appendix A of the UNI Practice, Accredia has defined the procedures for carrying out the audit on companies, whose system documentation must show the scope and applicability of the Practice, the mapping of internal and external processes, any violations of gender equality rights.

“With the accreditation stage for the certification of gender equality, for which I thank Accredia – explains the Minister for Equal Opportunities and the Family, Elena Bonetti – we take another important step to support companies and encourage that path of empowerment of women who, as a government, we have chosen to undertake in order to promote their work and career. It is a clear choice, which will make it possible to change the aspect of companies and which will make it possible to free up talents and skills that are still largely unexpressed today. To return to growth, the country needs female energies, and the government of President Draghi has clearly chosen the direction, to give hope and confidence to Italy “.

The UNI/PdR 125:2022 is the result of the discussion held in the working group on gender certification, provided for by the PNRR Mission 5, coordinated by the Department for Equal Opportunities, which involved the competent institutions, in which Accredia also took part.

As much research has shown, companies that apply gender equality are more productive, more innovative, more efficient and better positioned on the market than their competitors. The International Monetary Fund has calculated that if female employment reaches male employment in Italy, GDP growth would be 11%. Today in Italy the employment of women is 18% lower than that of men, making it one of the lowest in Europe, and women earn about 16% less than men. And precisely in Italy, leveraging the guarantees provided by accreditation, the Legislator has decided to incentivize companies that use accredited certification on gender equality, making available resources equal to 10 million euros in the PNRR, and providing for reward mechanisms in public tenders, as indicated in Laws 108/2021 and 162/2021.

“The social and economic growth of our country – comments Filippo Trifiletti, General Director of Accredia – necessarily passes through greater involvement and protection of women in the labor market and the implementation of policies, no longer postponed, aimed at this purpose. It is a topic that sees Italy behind compared to other European countries; for this reason, the PNRR, where gender equality assumes strategic importance, and the latest legislative provisions have introduced incentive measures to favor companies that decide to rely on accredited certification “.

“This is a further recognition for the accreditation system in an area that has now become a strategic asset for the country’s economic and social growth. This tool, in fact, thanks to the assessments carried out by Accredia on the bodies that certify companies that have set up a correct system to manage gender equality, represents a reliable mechanism to guarantee the achievement of the Government’s objectives in this specific area “, concluded Trifiletti.