Irene Marta Brusini received the Solesin Award
PhD researcher at NHH Irene Marta Brusini has been awarded The Valeria Solesin Prize, named after the Italian researcher who was killed in the Paris terrorist attack at the Bataclan in 2015.
`Receiving the Solesin Prize means a lot to me, not just for the academic recognition but also for the chance and the encouragement to continue Valeria's legacy through my research on gender equality´, PhD researcher Irene Marta Brusini says.
From Bocconi and LSE
Valeria Solesin, a young Italian researcher at the Sorbonne in Paris, tragically lost her life on 13 November 2015 in the attack on the Bataclan theatre, 28 of age. To honour her memory, The Valeria Solesin Award is given to extraordinary papers and master´s theses on the following topic:
"Female talent as a crucial factor to develop the economy, ethics, and meritocracy in Italy".
`I'm genuinely happy to be part of a network of talented young researchers who, like me, are committed to delving into the root causes of gender inequality´.
Irene Marta Brusini is an MSc graduate from London School of Economics and Political Science and Bocconi University (Double Degree). Now, she is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Economics and a researcher at FAIR, specialized in labor economics, tax and public economics.
In her thesis «Rethinking Political Representation: A new measurement of gender equality in political representation in the European Union», Brusini investigates the political representation in the EU-system.
`This award holds particular significance in the Italian context, because the gender gap is still quite pronounced—only 55% of women are employed nationwide, according to Eurostat from 2022´.
`In your thesis, you ask if officials who share an identity with their constituents represent them better. You question the argument that women representatives better represent women’s interests. Can you elaborate on this? ´
`Both theoretical arguments and empirical evidence are mixed on this matter. It is evident that common experiences based on shared identity can foster greater alignment of interests between politicians and constituents who share their gender identity. However, the downside of identity politics lies in the assumption that maldistribution is merely a secondary effect of misrecognition´.
«look like their voters»
In other words, Brusini elaborates, the belief that improving equality in representation, such as electing more women, would be sufficient to solve the problem of redistributional inequalities.
`It is not just about having representatives who look like their voters; they also need to be responsive to voters’ interests and influence agenda-setting in a way that reflects constituents’ preferences´.
This argument can be further explored, the PhD researcher says, by asking, what are "gender-based interests"? Traditionally, for women, the most politically salient issues were education – or topics concerning childcare and family policies –, gender-based violence, and healthcare.
cannot think of a better place than FAIR
`However, this is a narrow definition if we aim for a more comprehensive understanding of gender as a multi-layered system with strong implications in every aspect of life and every policy domain. Being aware of these broader implications, even when experiencing them directly, requires significant effort, let alone prioritizing them in elected officials’ political agendas´.
`Now you are a PhD candidate at NHH and researcher at FAIR. What motivated you to come to NHH?´
`I chose to pursue my PhD at NHH because I wanted to engage with and learn from faculty conducting cutting-edge research in my field of interest´, Brusini says.
Within NHH's Department of Economics and FAIR, she will collaborate with experts dedicated to addressing gender equality on a daily basis.
`I cannot think of a better place than FAIR for someone who wants to conduct research on the causes and consequences of inequalities. Moreover, the possibility to work with rich administrative data on Norwegian population significantly enhances my research prospects. Furthermore, NHH provides a supportive and welcoming academic environment in which people are truly committed to impactful research´.