«I don’t study, I don’t work»: Italy is the country with the most NEETs in Europe. And they are mostly girls and mothers

In 2020, over 3 million young Italians were left idle, without a book in front of them and without a job. They are the ones we have learned to define as Neet: a growing phenomenon, which doubles in the South compared to the North and which mainly concerns girls

SI am Neet because they do not intend to continue their studies but do not intend to look for work. Or because they stopped looking for it, frustrated by the difficulties . But neither do they form with the hope of finding one. Often they are mothers who have simply given up . Young people between 15 and 34 years old who live in this limbo, or swamp, make up 39% of the population in Southern Italy, 23% in Central Italy, 20% in the North-West and 18% in the North-East. But all Italian regions exceed the average incidence of NEETs on the youth population in Europe in 2020 which remains at 15%. The decidedly worrying picture was highlighted by ActionAid with CGIL in the Report “NEET between inequalities and gaps. In search of new public policies ”.

A study that also has the aim of directing national and territorial policies for young people. In order, as Katia Scannavini, Deputy General Secretary of ActionAid , explains , to «guarantee economic and social justice for the new generations. The exercise of one’s rights, access to equal opportunities, regardless of the starting socioeconomic condition, gender, citizenship and the region in which one lives”.

Neet, in Italy there are 3 million. And 1.7 are women

The acronym Neet stands for “Not in Education, Employment or Training”. And he speaks clearly. It refers to those young people, 3 million in Italy in 2020, of which 1.7 million are female, who do not work, do not study, do not train. The incidence of NEETs in Italy, says the report, doubles in the South compared to the North, and is higher among women, especially in the older age groups. 20% of NEETs are inactive mothers .

Inactive mothers: how much the disparity in care burdens affects

56% of NEETs are women and the female prevalence remains unchanged over the years, demonstrating that it is much more difficult for a woman to escape this condition. Just look at the roles in the family to understand what has happened and continues to happen: 26% are parents and live outside their family unit of origin. Among these there is a large difference between women and men which sees 23% of Neet mothers compared to 3% of Neet fathers . The motivation for inactivity is therefore often linked to the difference in care burdens between mother and father .

Most (2 out of 3) NEETs are inactive : discouraged, they have stopped looking for work altogether. Some (around 20%) would be available to work but are not looking anyway. There is a tendency to be inactive especially among those with a high school diploma (32%) or those with a lower qualification (16%). As for the unemployed (those who regularly look for a job), as many as 36.3% of them have been looking for a job for more than a year. Almost 1 in 2 have had previous work experience and among these 54.3% are women. Women are the majority (57%) even among young people of foreign origin or without Italian citizenship, who are only 18% of the total.

From the Ex-employed to the Discouraged, the identikit of the Neet

Very young people out of school . From 15 to 19 years old, without previous work experience and inactive, they only have a middle school diploma and live with a family.

Looking for first job . They are young people aged 20 to 24, without previous work experience, mostly live in a single-parent family unit, are male and live in a metropolitan city or large municipality. This is the largest cluster and highlights the fragility of the southern labor market.

Formerly employed . They are between 25 and 29 years old, have lost or abandoned a job and are now looking. They are mainly male, single, with a high level of education. They receive unemployment benefits. They live in the central regions of the country.

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