Europe helped women in Italy, but we still need progress today

“we are still stuck here dealing with the problem of effectiveness – of rights that are only on paper and that do not even touch the daily life of women’s bodies”

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In Italy, the 60 year anniversary of the EU intersects with the first but very significant steps of the new feminist movement “Non una di meno” (Not one less).

The themes launched in January by the World March of Women in Washington- fighting gender violence, opposing discrimination, sexism in language and in representation of women’s bodies, taking back the public space: all these are the key concepts desctibing  the present time, but also representing the past forty years of feminist struggles in Italy.

In the seventies, the feminist movement gathered  in  squares and along the streets fighting against violence, against the old sexist system, asking for an egualitarian presence of both sexes in the public space of the city, And then  all this was translated into rights, laws and principles that put in the corner obsolete institutions, nailed to patriarchal traditions.

Today although a regulatory framework in our country does exist – on reproductive rights, on violence, on gender equality- certainly thanks to the widespread and tenacious action of the women’s movement, we cannot forget to thank – and here is my reflection on this anniversary – the Europea institutions, that have always pushed – in one way or in another- for certain key concepts to be introduced in our culturale framework– I think to equal treatment in employment, to parental leave, to support and welfare services. But after that, now that the regulatory scenario is relatively stable, we are still stuck here dealing with the  big problem of effectiveness of rights that are sometimes only on paper and that do not even touch the daily life of women’s bodies. Stuck with the fact that in Italy women are discriminated at work; in Italy you sign resignation letters before signing for the real employment. In Italy women who are beated,  raped and killed by their partners are considered “poor victims” while men perpetrators and murderers are “impulsive human beings pushed to kill by a mad raptus of passion”. In Italy the labour market is increasingly precarious for women, underpaid, humiliating. Even expulsive, if they have to look after children or elders; women lose their jobs or do not seek for  it anymore in Italy due to a non-existent welfare; in Italy women cannot choose to be mothers or not since abortion is not performed by doctors in hospital as prescribed by the laws, because doctors can claim their objection of conscience; in Italy you do not live in peace if you are a same sex couple, because of the stigma , The cattolica Cage of stereotypes we are always in.

In Italy there is still a lot room for the sexist language of the patriarchy, for the discriminatory and offensive language of the Catholic traditionalist Church fostered by the media, underlined by the political parties and by single politicians. Media and politics that deliberately ignore and misrepresent the movement’s actions, that do not hear the voices of the many women and men who in these days fill the streets pushing for change. And that is why today the movement “non una di meno” new and old at the same time, full of soul, strength, creativity and legitimacy given by the international network that has been created, flags as we would really need European institutions – equal rights for women, a highest level of EU citizenship for everyone.

This comment comes from Dr. Lorenza Perini http://cirsg.unipd.it/il-centro/lorenza-perini/

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