Anna Di Bartolomeo is a researcher and a professor at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, after having worked at the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute. Her research projects include such topics as domestic work, gender studies, migration and integration. She is currently part of the DomEqual research team and “Senior Research Fellow” at Ca’ Foscari.
Could you share your academic path with us and how you discovered migrations and gender studies?
I completed doctoral studies in demography at the university of Rome with a dissertation on international migrations and more specifically on second-generation immigrants’ school performances. I was already interested in what became my main interest, collaborating on field research with “ItaGen2”, the first Italian investigation on second-generation immigrants. I pursued my studies abroad at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock and at the Institute National d’Etudes Démographiques in Paris. I then worked as a researcher at the Migration Policy Center at the European University Institute where I focused on the labour market, and immigrants’ integration in their working lives in Italy and Europe. Following the remarkable feminization of migration in the last 15 years, I started focusing on the female component of immigration, especially in Italy. That is how I discovered gender studies with regards to international migrations. The DomEqual research project with which I am collaborating deals with these questions aiming at analyzing two identities, being a woman and being a migrant, and monitoring the evolution of domestic work, as the main work of migrant women arriving in Italy.
Were there specific turning points in your studies?
I have had a rather logical path motivated by my passion; my experience abroad surely helped me obtain useful methodological skills that opened the doors of the European university institute where I had the opportunity to develop a significant research experience that was essential for my future.
Is a new migration narrative possible thanks to the research carried out by female researchers and professors?
I think that a new migration narrative is fundamental: I decided to pursue my studies on international mobility when migrations were not regarded as as a burning issue like today because of the need for a new analysis. In the European University Institute I noticed that, regretfully, academia focuses on the negative aspects of migrations, like how migrants struggled to blend into society. This new project rather aims at showing how migrations may have a positive impact and contribute to the economic and social development of their destination country. I recently conducted a research with prof. Sabrina Marchetti empirically proving how female domestic worker migrants have significantly contributed to Italian women’s labour market integration, even after the crisis. Basically having more female migrants working in care and domestic work in our country has enabled Italian women to work and be more independent: it is a complementarity and not competitivity narrative.
Do you think that female and male researchers have access to the same opportunities and career options in Italy?
I have never felt discriminated against or belittled: in my team we are all women and mainly researchers focusing on our field of expertise. I think that there was great improvement in Italy and Europe, but I also think that sadly university is still hardly accessible to young female and male researchers: it is a generational issue and universities should deal with this issue as well.