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The Italian Department for Equal Opportunities (DPO)

The Department for Equal Opportunities (DPO), which was set up by the Prime Minister’s Decree (n. 405/1997), is the administrative body supporting the Minister for Equal Opportunities. The DPO is the general structure of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in charge of promoting the coordination and implementation of equal opportunity policies and the government’s actions aimed at preventing and removing any forms of discrimination. It is also charged with activities with regard to health, research, education, family, labour, ageing, and female representation. According to its mandate, DPO is charged with:

  • Proposing and coordinating legislative and administrative initiatives dealing with policies for equal opportunities;
  • Promoting study and coordination of processes related to equality and equal opportunities;
  • Defining new guidelines to study and encourage projects and initiatives related to equal opportunities, in addition to coordinating all proposals made by governing bodies or public authorities;
  • Organising and coordinating central or local governing bodies, with the specific task of guaranteeing correct implementation of national regulations relating to equality between men and women;
  • Developing national positions in the European legislative process and adapting the national legal system to the legislation and the principles set up by European Union;
  • Coordinating and monitoring projects concerning the organisation and use of Structural Funds for policies related to equal opportunities;
  • Promoting cooperation between national, regional, and local governing bodies and national or international organisations for equal opportunities, in particular with the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the OCSE.

Istituto per la ricerca sociale

Since its foundation 40 years ago, IRS has been carrying out wide research activities and has become a leading research institute both at Italian and European level, thanks to a highly qualified internal research structure of more than 40 researchers, and partnerships with other leading European research centers, prestigious universities and qualified experts. For over more than 30 years, IRS has consolidated its presence in the national research market.

IRS is a wholly independent, non-profit cooperative currently counting 60 members. Our proceeds derive exclusively from activities developed specifically for our clients. IRS places great importance on consolidating our highly qualified internal research structure. At present, more than 40 researchers and a network of consultants guarantee the excellent quality of our products. We fine-tune our products to meet the specific needs of a wide target of clients, both public and private. This is made possible thanks to the wide spectrum of competencies available within the Institute. Our work is based on a multidisciplinary, fully integrated approach. IRS is part of various international research centre networks and closely collaborates with prestigious universities and qualified experts. Our services range from research, consultancy, evaluation and training. IRS is articulated in seven areas: the labor market and industrial relations, non-profit, administrative policies, training and labor policies, enterprise and industry policies ,social and health policies and services, urban policies.


Associazione maschile plurale

The National Association Maschile Plurale was established in Rome in 2007. It represents a social reality that gathers men with various age, personal stories, political and cultural points of view and different sexual orientation. It is rooted in a wider informal network, born more than 15 years ago, of local groups and individuals in several cities of Italy.

The members of the Association are engaged in deconstructing male gender traditional definitions, aiming to redefine male identity, to cultivate a pluralist approach on gender issues and to criticize patriarchal model. Maschile Plurale has a long history and a positive relation with feminist and women’s movement. The idea to create a formal association was born after the publication of an “Appeal against violence on women”, written by some of the promoters in September 2006 and countersigned in a few months by a thousand other men from all over Italy. In 2007 the constitution of the association addressed the need for a more structured national commitment, which would allow greater participation in the social, political and institutional life of the country. Its member are involved in several kind of interventions, which objectives are:

  • To promote individual and collective reflection among men of all ages and conditions , starting with the recognition of their partiality and with appreciation of differences , in the direction of a change of culture in gender’s relations;
  • To personally and publicly commit to the elimination of all form of gender violence, both physical and psychological;
  • To establish and to facilitate a change in the actual male behaviors, in interpersonal and intimate relationships, in the work place, in schools and Universities, in the religious communities, in politics, media and information, as well as in different occasion of sociability.


Associazione donne in rete contro la violenza

The National Association DIRE (Women’s Network against violence) was founded on the 29th of September 2008 and is the first Italian Association of independent women’s centers and shelters against violence, whose aim is to constitute the first National Coalition to develop and promote the different experiences of all local centers against violence in Italy. It intends to coordinate and promote activities in order to start and facilitate a cultural change on violence against women in Italian society.

The main idea of cultural change is based on men’s violence against women, gender differences and traditional ideas of family and society, still present today, and of inequality and differences in power between men and women in Italian society. DIRE intends to analyze these cultural elements in an attempt to modify the perception of violence itself in society. DIRE coordinates 54 Centers against violence and Women’s Shelters. These Centers, in their twenty-year activity throughout Italy, have given aid and support to thousands of women and their children, have promoted knowledge and research and now, those women are ready to share their experiences and give life to a common National action while respecting differences in procedure at a local level.

The Association is also working to create a permanent debate around comparing practices, knowledge and research. Furthermore DIRE wants to promote functional strategies and training courses for workers at women’s centers, and to consolidate and strengthen the presence of shelters throughout Italy. The Association is also involved in the difficult fight against prejudices and exploitation of the serious problem of violence, which tend to depreciate the violence itself. DIRE (Women’s Network against violence) aims to become a National Institution involved in discussing violence against women at both a national government and international level and to elaborate and modify the existing laws concerning Women’s Rights.



In collaboration with

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This project is funded by
the European Union
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Dipartimento delle pari opportunità