The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - December 20

Italian women are steadily catching up with men when it comes to Internet use and among teenagers the girls have even overtaken the boys, according to the latest statistics. From the age of 20 onwards, there are still slightly more males using Internet than females, although the difference is falling, a new study by national statistics bureau Istat found.

But the 15-17 age group shows girls in front by 68.8% to 65.6% and a similar difference is apparent in the 18-19 bracket. Among younger Italians - those between 11 and 14 - the numbers using the web are about the same. "This marks the shift to a new generation. Girls thesedays are getting involved in all the areas of IT that used to be considered male preserves," Linda Laura Sabbadini, a top analyst at Istat, said.

Experts said the shift had come about mainly because use of Internet and computers these days requires little expertise and much of the technical challenge that used to appeal to teenage boys is gone. Compared to the rest of Europe, where an average of 52% of households have PCs and Internet access, Italy is behind with just 40%. Top of the rankings are Holland and Denmark with 80% and 79%.