Gender Budgeting as a Dynamic Monitoring Tool for Gender Diversity Management in Universities




diversity management, gender budgeting, gender equality, gender gap, university, non financial reporting


Since the early 1980s, the economic literature has recognized the importance of valorizing the differences in the corporate context as a necessity and has been fueled by studies using the term "diversity management" (Kelly & Dobbin, 1998; Keil et al., 2007). The attention placed on the issue by both public and private sector organizations has grown exponentially, embracing new contexts and also new shades of diversity (Di Santo et al., 2013). Gender is a focal element of the organizations' multiplicity, the respect for which requires equal representation of men and women in the workplace (Wawryszuk-Misztal, 2021).

The EIGE (European Institute for Gender Equality) Indicator considers different variables, among of which there are employment and education, two closely interdependent aspects which are even more prominently encountered in academia. Gender inequality in academic careers is, in fact, a global phenomenon, although the causes and consequences vary in different national contexts (Piva and Rovelli, 2022). One tool increasingly used by universities to demonstrate their commitment to pursuing gender equality is the gender budget, a document that assesses and restructures budget items considering women’s priorities and needs as well as those of men (Addabbo et al., 2015; Bilyk et al., 2021; Lucchese et al., 2022).

This paper aims to investigate whether and how gender budget can communicate the evolution of the gender diversity management approach.

The paper uses a qualitative analysis based on a single case study to answer the research question. In particular, the research is focused on gender budgeting elaborated by the oldest university in Europe: University La Sapienza, set in Rome, Italy. Sapienza University is the most prominent university in Rome and the first to implement this tool. The authors will carry out a documentary analysis of the latest gender budget (2021), comparing it with the previous ones (2016-2020), to see if it is possible to understand how Sapienza's commitment to reducing the gender gap has evolved over the years.

From a theoretical point of view, the research contributes to gender studies and non-financial reporting research, focusing on the role of clear and transparent communication in conveying the value and enhancement of diversity. From a managerial perspective, findings could increase the universities' awareness about which information the gender budget should contain to represent the organization's dynamic engagement against gender inequalities.