This information was last updated in 2015 and may have changed since then. EIGE will next update the information at the end of 2019.


The progress of gender equality in the Italian legislative framework was due mainly to the need to adopt European Union (EU) directives and to the use of European Funds during the 1990s and 2000s.

In 2006, the National Code of Equal Opportunities between Women and Men was established, with the view to regulating the promotion of equal opportunities between women and men in all areas of society. It organised and harmonised 11 laws on equal opportunities in a single text.


At national level, gender mainstreaming is primarily coordinated by the Department for Equal Opportunities within the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (under the Vice-Minister for Labour and Social Policies). It was established in 1997 and acts as an operational unit. The department is in charge of designing, coordinating and monitoring policies for the promotion of equal opportunities.

Laws and Policies

The National Code of Equal Opportunities between Women and Men provides the legal framework for the development of gender equality and gender mainstreaming at national level. Moreover, several guidelines provide for the implementation of gender mainstreaming both at national level. These include the directive on promoting the implementation of gender-mainstreaming methods within public administrations and the Prodi-Finocchiaro Directive on actions to promote the allocation of powers and responsibilities to women.

Methods & Tools

At regional level, the VISPO guidelines provide a framework for the development of a model for the evaluation of equal opportunities, including gender impact assessment, gender analysis and evaluation. Other methods include capacity-building and gender planning.  Since 2006, the Equal Opportunity Department has collaborated with the National Statistics Institute (ISTAT) to create three gender-sensitive surveys, namely gender-based violence, work–life balance and women’s participation in public life.