PurposeThe European university context reveals a high degree of gender inequality. In Italy, the overall female employment rate is significantly lower than in the rest of Europe; nevertheless, gender equality in universities is consistent with the European average. In 2006, the Italian Government required public organisations (thus state universities) to formulate positive action plans (PAPs) and disclose the positive actions planned for the following three years to promote gender equality. However, the law does not provide any guideline for the contents of the PAPs. The purpose of this paper is to analyse gender equality disclosure in PAPs to investigate whether and how Italian State Universities (ISUs) are taking a role in promoting gender equality.Design/methodology/approachThe paper uses content analysis to investigate contents of gender disclosure in 28 PAPs. The authors developed a coding instrument based on the Guidelines for Gender Equality Programmes in Science.FindingsThe paper found that most PAPs are focused on creating a favourable environment for women inside the organisation, while little attention has been paid to creating gender awareness in research and teaching activities, as well as in supporting women’s leadership. The paper concludes that ISUs are failing as key players in the cultural change of the society toward gender equality.Originality/valueFirst, the paper contributes to the accounting literature by providing an analysis of accounting for gender by universities. Second, it adds to the debate on positive actions for gender equality in the university sector.
Meditari Accountancy Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 6, 2016