Migrant women in Italy through the economic crisis: the role of female entrepreneurship

Cristina Giudici, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"
Benedetta Cassani, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"

As pointed out in several editions of the International Migration Outlook (OECD 2009, 2010, 2011) immigrants have been hard hit by the economic crisis in all OECD countries, but gender differences are emerging : during the economic downturn, when unemployment of migrant men increased markedly, migrant women often increased their participation in the labour market, and they seem to have played an important role in compensating the income losses of migrant men (OECD 2011). In Italy’s case , as in other European countries, women are often active in those economic sectors not significantly affected by the crisis, and consequently the employment gap between migrant men and women has decreased. In addition, during the crisis, the employment gap between foreign-born and native-born women has diminished as well. At the same time, immigrant women entrepreneurship in Italy is growing consistently and has shown a solid process of settlement in specific sectors. Nevertheless, the lack of statistical information in this field adds to the difficulties of reaching a clear overview of the phenomena dimension. The aim of the study is to provide an overview of the characteristics and geographical distribution of the immigrant female entrepreneurship in Italy and to analyze the role played by migrant women entrepreneurs in compensating the negative effects of the economic crisis. Implications in terms of migrant integration and development policies will be pointed out as well. We refer to the Statistical register of Italian active enterprises (ASIA) from 2000 to 2009. ASIA was developed by Italian Statistical Office (ISTAT), through the statistical integration of different administrative sources, covering all enterprises of industry and services, other minor archives available, and structural business statistics currently produced by the ISTAT. We refer as well to the survey on household economic conditions provided by the Italian Statistical Office.

Presented in Poster Session 2