Women in EA: Interview with Domenica Lista, EA Group General Counsel
Domenica started her career working for international law and consultancy firms and cooperating with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs in the European litigation department. She qualified as Lawyer and approximately eight years after the beginning of her career she decided to join the world of the in-house lawyer. Amongst her most notable roles since moving to this sector we can find her time as in-House Lawyer for companies such as Pirelli Real Estate, Intesa San Paolo Group and General Counsel in UBI Banca Group and Banca Generali.
WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ON DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO GENDER?
I think it’s important we acknowledge that we can be different from one another. Valuing each type of diversity creates equilibrium and equity, paving the way to inclusion. It doesn’t come easy. It requires effort. But once someone is cognizant of inclusion, she/he can help foster change by addressing biases, influencing others and most importantly, building an open dialogue within the team to include different points of view. I also think gender diversity is a matter of life choices: you are free to choose to be a mother or a wife, or not to be a mother and or a wife. The important thing is that every woman feels free to choose for herself without being judged for her choice. Diversity is a gift that becomes particularly valuable in crisis situations when the previous certainties are put at question and “out of the box” thinking becomes essential to survive.
WHICH INITIATIVE DO YOU BELIEVE HELP BOOST INCLUSION?
When you give people the chance to be themselves, show who they are, a whole world of opportunities opens up. Take the example of the quotas law for the Board of Directors. At first, I did not like it, as a woman you feel like a panda needing someone to protect you. But eventually I realized that they are a way to give opportunities to women by creating balance at the top that can lead to other women’s growth. My attitude changed once women started to fill up Companies Boards. This helped unleash the positive “woman effect”. And finally, as mentioned above, never stop increasing awareness on diversity, inclusion and bias!
WHAT EFFECT HAS THE COVID-19 CRISIS HAD ON THESE ISSUES?
Women, especially those who are caregivers to their children or loved ones, are unquestionably impacted by the pandemic. But I’m hoping this will become an opportunity; a chance to achieve greater equilibrium and flexibility both at work and at home.By working toward gender equality, we are helping achieve the fifth objective of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: “to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. In the most developed countries women are quite lucky and significant improvements and achievements have been secured in the last decades in the path towards equal opportunities – even if some gaps remain. This is not the case in other parts of the world. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could reverse the progress made so far on gender equality and women’s rights. The pandemic has also led to a steep increase in violence against women and girls. In general, we can say that the sanitary crisis and its economic impacts have fragilized even more not only women, but also the categories already in difficulty and marginalised. I believe we have a duty as a society to work for a sustainable future, one in which women are both educated and financially autonomous.
ANY CLOSING THOUGHTS ON DIVERSITY?
I think every woman should be aware of her diversity and ready to make the most of it. You don’t make it to the top by chance! Believe in yourself and all that you are. That way you’ll become an inspiration for other women too! Remember as well to find diverse alliances along your path and support each other. Raising each other up and channelling the power of collaboration is truly how we will embed diversity in our workspace and lives, and have a lot more fun along the way!