8th March: no job for a woman

08 March 2024

Driven by a love of science and technology, they chose a university course in STEM subjects. Now they work on building sites and construction projects, and are involved in maintenance, installations and buildings.
They are well organised and willing to seek solutions when problems arise. Because they love what they do, they are determined to deal with any difficulties they encounter along the way.
For some, it is their first work experience, for others, joining Leonardo Global Solutions represents an evolution in their career. They want to be able to grow in their work, and they wonder about their future, about the stereotypes that still need to be overcome. They want to be able to choose without being discriminated against, to be judged on their skills and professionalism, and to be able to reconcile being a working woman and a family woman without giving up either.
Deborah, Elena, Stefania, and Lidia, are among the STEM women that make up 25% of LGS, and they perform roles that, in the public imagination, are still considered to be no job for a woman.


Deborah Di Pilato (29)
Construction Management South Military Bases and Overseas Sites


After my three-year degree at the Politecnico of Bari, my desire to broaden my horizons led me first to move to the Politecnico di Torino, for my master's degree, and then to Scotland, to Strathclyde University, for a student internship. It was a path that taught me to approach problems proactively and never destructively, and that hard work and teamwork can go a long way. That's an attitude that develops over time and goes beyond mere theory, which should be the main legacy of any university. After graduating, I held various roles: I was in charge of seismic vulnerability analyses, then I became first assistant works manager on the high-speed/high-capacity line between Naples and Bari and, after that, assistant project manager. Those years gave me an experience to which I feel very attached: the breaking of the first aperture in the tunnel, a magical moment for tunnel builders, when two different excavation fronts meet and months and months of hard work come to fruition. I currently hold the position of Project Manager in Leonardo Global Solutions, for the realisation of infrastructure projects and aircraft construction sites in the south and abroad; a cross-functional job that allows me to deal with the project from both the technical/planning and economic/contractual points of view. It is essential to have good planning and forecasting skills, but above all excellent communication skills, patience, adaptability, and critical thinking, which are indispensable for understanding the needs of your interlocutor and trying to find a way to reconcile them with our own in order to achieve the objective.

What about the time you weren't put off by hearing "you can't do that because you're a woman"?

As a child I dreamt of working with my father, a construction worker, and putting up buildings with him. He always tells me that when I was three years old I would ask him if I could go to the building site to hold his hammer or hand him nails. When I started working I had to face all kinds of stereotypes and prejudices. In particular I remember a site manager who, during the first week of work, asked me why I had not chosen to pursue a career as a teacher, like his daughter. Right from the start it was clear to me that, in the eyes of most of the people I would meet on my career path, I would be neither suitable nor up to the job. During a high school reunion, a few days after I joined the Leonardo Group, a former classmate of mine was keen to tell me that construction was "not for girls", especially in military contexts, how I had always been "a tomboy" at school, and that I should "get my head straight". These few, simple sentences managed to construe what were sources for pride for me as incorrect attitudes for a girl. Fortunately, my parents taught me about passion, commitment and determination and so, armed with humility and a smile, I have always tried to give my best and learn as much as I can from all my colleagues. I have tried to overcome prejudices about being a girl by showing my worth through my actions.  There are no jobs that women cannot do; we can be whatever we want to be.


Elena Leonelli (33)
North East Industrial Cluster


I took a master's degree course in Architecture at the University of Ferrara, which certainly gave me a good project planning method, applicable to many other areas of life, such as the ability to break down complex issues into simple problems so as to proceed more rapidly towards a solution. One of the most significant experiences of my university years was undoubtedly the opportunity to work on some of the buildings affected by the earthquake in Emilia: an experience that put me to the test, outside the classroom, and allowed me to deal with practical aspects of the subjects covered during my studies.
Joining Leonardo Global Solutions coincided with the opportunity to fill the professional role I was looking for and to develop the skills I wanted to improve. Today, I am responsible for managing the maintenance of the plants and buildings of the Ronchi dei Legionari site, collaborating on a daily basis with colleagues who deal with investments and personal services. Without a doubt, the most interesting aspect of my profession is the continuous interaction with colleagues, suppliers and customers, because dealing with these different figures within the operation of the sites means constantly having to adopt different points of view and increasing my knowledge and experience day by day.

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

It's a moment of reflection to celebrate the gains that have been made and to remember how much still needs to be done to combat the discrimination and violence of which women are still victims today around the world. I consider myself privileged because I have never felt hindered by the fact that I am a woman, but I do not feel immune to worries about the future. From the perspective of starting a family, I feel that the tools given by our society to reconcile career and motherhood are very poor. Childcare still falls almost entirely on women and we are a long way from social acceptance of a more active role for fathers and the creation of a network of services that truly support parenting. I would advise the next generation of female professionals not to be influenced by external judgments and expectations, but to work with the goal of achieving their own well-being and satisfaction.


Stefania Rosani (36)
Civil Infrastructures PMO


I've always had a penchant for scientific subjects, so I attended scientific high school, specialising in computer science, and then graduated in engineering, specialising in construction and architecture. The university degree was a path that allowed me to forge strong bonds with my classmates and build the methods with which I work today, which are aimed at finding solutions to problems and managing the greatest workload in a rational way. After graduating, I immediately started working in architectural and urban planning firms, and then became interested in the Real Estate field in the role of Facility Manager, a professional turning point that saw me move from freelancing to monitoring processes and orders. Today I plan, coordinate, and monitor investment projects, extrapolate data, and process reports within the Project Management Office team of Leonardo Global Solutions, also focusing on Construction projects, where I have the stimulating opportunity to help build processes that are not yet firmly established.

What changes do you hope for now that in the future will finally allow us to talk about gender equality at work?

We have not yet achieved gender equality and, out of respect for the energy and sacrifices of those who came before us, I believe it is right and proper to strive for new and significant changes, and not become accustomed to the current state of affairs. In my professional career, at my first interview during a selection process for a civil engineering firm, it was pointed out to me that if I had been selected I would have found myself doing inspections in uncomfortable places. Despite my interest in continuing the process, I was ultimately rejected as they did not consider the work suitable for a woman. For a long time, I felt discouraged by the reason I had been given. So I hope that conditions at work in the future will be the same for everyone, regardless of gender or difficulties in reconciling family and professional life, and that, above all, when deciding to hire a woman we will stop worrying about possible periods of maternity leave. Managing stressful moments in an optimal way, as well as organising activities outside and inside the workplace, should necessarily be seen as an added value and not a problem.

Lidia Cristofaro (27) 
Purchasing for Military Bases


I graduated in Management Engineering, specialising in Supply Chain Management, from the Federico II University of Naples. They were wonderful years, so many experiences that I remember with a smile. One of these was a visit to the Campania interport, a strategic hub for international freight transport, which gave me the opportunity to see at first hand what I was studying, witnessing container handling operations. During my last few months at university, I was called by Leonardo Global Solutions, where I now follow the entire purchasing process for Facility Management services related to the maintenance of buildings and installations located on military bases, from extension/modification projects of existing buildings to the construction of new ones, such as the International Flight Training School in Decimomannu, the training centre that welcomes pilots from all over the world.

What did you dream about as a child and what would you tell that child today?

I dreamed of becoming an archaeologist, then a botanist, then a singer... and between creativity and science, my passion for the latter prevailed. Someone who inspired me a lot both personally and professionally is definitely my high school maths teacher, who transmitted genuine confidence in the potential of girls in science and maths and actively worked to dispel gender stereotypes and promote an open and progressive mindset. Suffice it to say that even today, in some university engineering departments, the idea that women are intellectually inferior to their male colleagues is still widespread: it is important to recognise the stereotypes and break them down. This requires a collective commitment to create an environment in which women can be judged on their abilities and merit.
I have never allowed myself to be intimidated by the limits imposed by mainstream thinking, and I would say to a young Lidia the same as I would to future generations, namely to always follow their passions, not to be afraid to face challenges but to cultivate curiosity and dreams, because their inner potential is unlimited. And from the lives of Katherine Goble, Ada Lovelace or Marie Curie, to name but a few, we can draw examples to remind us that there are no roles or professions suitable only for men or only for women. What matters is your ability, regardless of your gender.