This is about celebrating gender diversity and exceptional women in Italy sending a message in favour of exceptional female talent anywhere.
On 7 May 2012, in Brussels,Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission, in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Lella Golfo, Member of the Italian Parliament, Alessia Mosca, Member of the Italian Parliament and Federiga Bindi, Director of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura of Brussels united to celebrate and send a message (picture below).
The case of Italy was chosen as a best practice for both a properly working law on diverse boards and the positive effects of its early implementation on overall corporate governance.
Lella Golfo and Alessia Mosca are two exceptional and exceptionally different Italian women and leaders. Both Members of Parliament elected for the first time in 2008, they are, under many points of view, different. Their stories are different, they belong to different parties, they come from different parts of the country, they differ for many aspects.
Diversity, though, is exactly why they succeeded together.
They united, they shared forces, shared thoughts and emotions. They combined different points of view. They listened to each other, they partially adapted their thoughts to each other’s. They managed to turn their (and their respective parties’) differences into a law, which perhaps neither of them would have been in a position to achieve if alone.
Italy’s law on gender diversity for Board of Directors of listed companies (Law n. 120/2011, dated 12 July 2011, the so-called “Golfo Mosca Law”), coming into force on 12 August 2012, requires, in essence, that Italian listed or State controlled companies appoint a fifth (to become a third at the following mandate) of board members as part of the “under represented gender”.
It does so in such a way that it works.
In fact, not only did Alessia Mosca and Lella Golfo lead the approval process of a visionary law. They also continued to work for its early and effective implementation.
As this law mandates for shareholders to change a number of board members, Italian companies have rightly taken it as a great opportunity to make better use of their Boards.
Hence, whilst not yet in effect, this law was actually implemented earlier by a number of Italian corporates, during the Annual General Meeting season of 2012: exceptional women were selected, overall corporate governance improved. Some leading Italian global companies, such as Fiat Chrysler for example, implemented a smaller board, with a view to fostering its effectiveness.
A great sign of good things coming and more to come.
Exceptional female talent is ever more crucial for the success of Italy and Europe, in one of those defining moments, as difficult as they are, where proper and effective use of talent and leadership can, and will make a difference for the better.