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Missing voices: the absence of women from Italy’s Covid-19 pandemic response

Vincenza Priola (Open University Business School, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
Lara Pecis (Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 8 October 2020

Issue publication date: 15 December 2020




This study aims to explore the role of Italian women in society and at work during the pandemic. Specifically, it analyses Italian women’s positioning in the work context and in the leadership coordinating the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Inspired by feminist thinking addressing recent debates on women’s livelihoods at the time of Covid-19, the study focusses on Italy’s gendered response to the pandemic and its exclusion of women from decision-making roles in the management of the pandemic and the subsequent post-pandemic socio-economic recovery. Drawing on recent studies and media contributions it provides a thought-provoking analysis embedded in the country’s history and culture.


Despite their high involvement in the daily management of the pandemic, as key workers and family carers, Italian women’s voices have remained unheard and concealed, even in face of movements towards their recognition (#DateciVoce). This study trace this lack of inclusion in the sedimented gender inequalities characteristic of the Italian socio-political-economic context, combined with the effects of Covid-19. This study suggest that the country needs a long overdue and radical shift towards the centring of women and their contributions in work and society.


The study offers insights into the gendered pandemic response of one of the first and worst affected countries. It specifically addresses women’s continued marginalisation in the political arena vis-à-vis their key role in supporting the country’s economy.



The editors invited the authors to be a part of this special issue on Covid-19.


Priola, V. and Pecis, L. (2020), "Missing voices: the absence of women from Italy’s Covid-19 pandemic response", Gender in Management, Vol. 35 No. 7/8, pp. 619-627.



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Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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