The United States, as well as many other countries, was created under a patriarchal foundation that women are constantly struggling with, and Italy is no exception. In fact, Italian women have to exist under triple threats of sexism: the government, the church, and the media. The current Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has been particularly open with his sexist behavior through comments to and about women as well as being accused of philandering by his wife. The Roman Catholic Church has threatened to excommunicate any doctors and patients who prescribe and use birth control pills, and the media emphasizes the idea that women are ornaments to men by showing scantilly-clad female characters on television and in the movies. But Italian women are now saying 'smettila! (stop it!).
New York Times op-ed contributer Chiara Volpato is ready to mobilize with her country women, and men. Step one is make sure the dissent against Mr. Berlusconi is heard. Volpato encourages organization and vocalization that women and men are no longer going to be quiet about the blatant sexism in Italian society. 'But first of all, dissenting women (and men) must speak up with greater confidence. Our country, long defined by its old-fashioned attitudes toward women, is finally ready to rally'.
NY Times 'Italian Women Rise Up' by Chiara Volpato / Image from JobInItaly.biz
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