In Viaggio con l’altra metà del cielo
[Voyage with the other half of the sky]

in collaboration with the Women In Motion programme run by Italy’s Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato


Awareness level


Mestieri e Passioni


Jobs and passions


Ripple effect


Our programme was really good – it was engaging, interesting and wonderful. I’ll never forget it. Thank you for paying us so much attention. - Sofia, 9


  • To introduce the girls to new professions, some unusual, through playing and collaborating with older youngsters studying on technical programmes.


  • Help to cut the gap between women and men in terms of representation in technical sectors.


  • Promote, with the help of the students of the participating technical college, the benefit and value of diversity – in this case diversity of gender and age – in the technical professions they will move into once they leave school.


  • Share testimonials and experiences from industry professionals and convey passion for these jobs.


  • In collaboration with professional institutes and elementary schools, explore themes connected to the specialism being studied by the students (mechanics, automation, optics, hydraulics, IT, etc.).


The project was split into six meetings of around two hours each.


  • The first meeting, in which the children, students, elementary school and technical college teachers met each other, featured a specially prepared presentation on stereotypes by Marie Madeleine Gianni, the president of the BET SHE CAN Foundation.


  • All of the meetings – which took place under the supervision of the teachers from the technical college, who specialise in teaching science to children, and of the children’s teachers themselves – included an lesson-style section and a practical section and featured games designed to introduce the girls to the various parts of the finished products (twilight switches, presence sensors, light/sound signallers, etc.). It was a real voyage of discovery through the technical aspects of the railways, including logistics, maintenance, mechanics and IT.


  • After the planning phase, which was the responsibility of the technical college students, the implementation phase saw participation from fourth and fifth year primary school girls, with support provided by the college students, their teachers and technical personnel from the Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato and the BET SHE CAN Foundation.


  • In each location, two tutors from the Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato supplied precious technical and planning support, validating the technical project devised and proposed by the students and overseeing every session. Furthermore, one role model from the Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato’s Women in Motion programme attended each location to talk about their professional experience in one of the company’s technical fields, as well as answering questions from the girls and college students.


  • There were ten closing events held for the individual projects, which saw the participation of families, teachers and – in some cases – the girls’ classmates.

Why it’s important

The percentage of women in technical and scientific jobs in Italy is one of the lowest of the OECD countries: 31.7% of women against 68.9% of men. Without concrete action, it seems improbable that this will improve, with just 5% of 15-year-old girls in Italy aspiring to enter a technical or scientific profession (data from the OECD, ISTAT and Eurostat). Confirmation of these stats is provided by the fact that female enrolment in Italy’s technical colleges is down (less than 15% in the technical colleges taking part).

Paradoxically, workplace demand for STEM professionals is growing, while diversity and variety in the workforce is increasingly seen as a crucial factor in innovation and richness.

  • Participants: 174 girls (12 primary schools) and 263 students (10 technical colleges).
  • People involved: Over 1200 adults and around 200 class mates.
  • Output: Development of a prototype (magnetic trains, twilight switches, presence sensors, sound/light signallers, etc.) and a small final exhibition.
  • Main supporter: Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato.
  • Technical partner: Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato, 10 technical colleges and 12 primary schools from across Italy.
  • Location: 10 Italian regions ranging from Trentino Alto Adige to Sicily.
  • Number of editions and status: second edition of the “Con l’altra metà del cielo” programme; 2017 – 2018 school year.

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