The company founded by Elio Bracco back in 1927 was also a forerunner in the area of women’s empowerment. Just think that in 1935, following the construction of the first facility on via Fucini in Milan, among the employees, which had risen to 82 from the initial 17, there were as many as 30 women. Later, with the arrival of his son Fulvio at the company and his appointment as General Director, women would also play a leading role. For instance, Anita Coppini, who would later become his wife, was named Technical Director. She had developed advanced skills at the Faculty of Chemistry in Pavia: an example of a female education and career in the STEM disciplines before their time.
As a good Istrian, Fulvio Bracco had a very modern relationship with women. In the post-war period, he assigned key managerial posts to women, an unusual business practice at the time. Sisters Maria and Margherita Giordana, who displayed great leadership style in the sales and purchasing departments, had legendary influence and charisma within the company. There was also Ms. Marchelli, a university classmate of Fulvio’s who handled production.
Remembering those years, Diana Bracco, who made women’s empowerment one of her principal causes, recalls that in the School of Chemistry at the University of Pavia, “there were only five women back then among an overwhelming number of men, because we were in the two-year course together with future engineers. During the exam, some cried and were noticeably anxious, and this really unsettled me. Of course it was challenging, but I never cried. Fortunately, in the past 50 years a lot has changed in customs and in society, although access to STEM professions, and to top management positions broadly speaking, remains elusive for women. For our part, at the Bracco Foundation, we want to teach young women that today, if you want it, you can achieve it. Do not limit yourself.”
Today in the Bracco Group, women are very well represented, including in high-level positions. Around half of the company’s personnel are women, and by 2025 the goal of 35% women in management and executive positions will be achieved. The Bracco Research Center in Colleretto Giacosa, near Ivrea, is currently led by chemist Roberta Fretta, the Torviscosa plant in Friuli is run by engineer Laetitia Laurent, and Fulvia Vella, who was awarded the Italian star of merit for labor, is Director of Quality Control.