FEMALE LEADERS: OTB Foundation’s ongoing commitment to support young entrepreneurial women and combat the C-suite gender gap is broadening.

The not-for-profit organization established by OTB founder Renzo Rosso in 2008 is earmarking its second investment, 550,00 euros, for its Brave Women Awards project, which covers the tuition fees for young female students capping off their academic education with two-year courses.

The investment follows the first made in 2022 of 280,000 euros for the original edition of the initiative in partnership with Milan-based Bocconi University.

The second iteration aimed at the 2023-2024 academic year involves other universities, including Rome’s LUISS Guido Carli University; the Alma Mater University in Bologna, referred to as the world’s oldest academic institution; the University of Padua, and Venice’s Ca’ Foscari University.

Through the donation, the OTB Foundation will offer 55 scholarships for female students to attend the final two-year courses for master’s degrees in economic and public administration science.

“Allowing more girls to access a higher degree of education, we are building the foundations for them to enter sectors and industries where female representation is currently low. The ultimate goal is to value gender diversity and [obtain] equal payment,” said Arianna Alessi, vice president of OTB Foundation.

“We also encourage all female students taking part in the project to spearhead similar initiatives whenever they will have the power to do so, thus building a virtuous cycle geared at female emancipation,” she added.

According to the foundation, the program’s goal is to contribute to solving the lack of female representation in C-suite roles across industries and institutions by helping to shape the next generation of female leaders.

Data provided by Italy’s National Institute for Statistics ISTAT related to 2021 shows that employment rates among women stands at 55.7 percent, below their male counterparts and below the European average of 68.5 percent, though more women than men have degrees.

Since its establishment in 2008, the charitable arm of the OTB Group, the parent company of brands including Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Jil Sander and Viktor & Rolf, has supported about 300 international projects focused on social development with an impact on the lives of 300,000 people.

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