Saturday, 4 May 2013

Gender Equality in Italy

Gender equality in Italy: “sleeping or waking”?
Recently The Telegraph reported in an article by Marta Cooper ( that things are changing in Italy and the country is finally reaching gender equality. But is that true? Or is this new focus to gender policies just a way to hide what really happens every day?
I’m Italian and I know this situation really well. The new Government has just been created and many politicians asked for a better inclusion of women. Now 7 women are leading a Ministry on 24 exponents of the Government. In Italy everyone is talking of this big achievement without noticing that women are representing just the 29% of the ministers.
Let’s suppose that we noticed that neither and assume that this is a big achievement for real. Is something changed in our society as well? NO.
There are several reasons for the answer I wrote:
1)  It happens very frequently that male politicians insult female politicians in Parliament for their bad work, but the male politicians don’t say to their female fellow colleagues that they are stupid or incompetent, they just say that they are UGLY;
2)  In every field of studies male professors and professionals are more than female and women have to fight to be considered as well as their male colleagues or at least to be taken seriously;
3)  There’s a strange misinterpretation of gender equality in Italy: men frequently ask for  sexual favor to women at work or at university but this is not considered a discrimination if women are accepting that.
This is clearly not gender equality and Italy has to do a lot of work before reaching that for real.
Laura Boldrini, a great woman with a brilliant past as UN officer, is now the president of the Low Chamber in Italy. It can be considered as a good sign. Well, let me tell you what happened few weeks ago: her partner is 11 years younger than her, so both journalists and politicians attacked Mrs. Boldrini for her private life and several newspapers titled “Boldrini and her toy boy”. Now let’s compare this to the case of Silvio Berlusconi, now engaged with a young women of 28 years old, 48 years younger than him. No one seems surprised in Italy. The few surprised one were so because they were expecting an even younger girlfriend for Mr. Berlusconi!

Agnese Cigliano

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