Women Back to the Kitchen

“If not now, when?” Italian women have been asking this year repeatedly. Is the change of political leader a change towards more respect and promotion of women?

Reading the Italian papers one would not think so. Journalist Camillo Langone recently published an article on Libero Quotidiano which he titled “Togliete i libri alle donne: torneranno a far figli”, meaning take the books away from women so they turn back to having children. His idea is that women’s education stands in the way of Italy’s future. In his analysis he explains the links between female education and birth rates and concludes that if Italy doesn’t want to die out and be populated only by Northern Africans, it is time that women get less access to higher education.

That is exactly the kind of discourse Italian women are fed up with. Se non ora quando, in short Snoq is screaming out against the discrimination of women in the European country. Many remember the time when Italy had a strong feminist movement. In the late 80’s and 90’s, the movement slowly disappeared and only came back during the rule of Berlusconi, the Guardian writes. A member of the Snoq committee remembers that when she started re-connecting with friends from the old times, “we started to ask: whatever happened?'”. The Guardian knows: “One answer is that Italy fell behind to a spectacular extent. In the 2011 World Economic Forum global gender gap report, it was ranked 48 places behind Mozambique – 74th out of the 135 countries surveyed.”

Snoq combines women from very different backgrounds, ages and political and religious convictions. They share one common goal: to turn Italy into a country for women where women have opportunities and dignity. The movement started on February 13th this year as a public outcry against the public treatment of women in the Berlusconi government. Over one milion of people – women and men – demonstrated on that day and many more in the following months asking the question over and over again: if not now, when?

So what will the future bring? The Guardian looks positively on the new Italian president as far as gender equality goes. The Snog member is more careful and states that the removal of Berlusconi is a step into the right direction, “but this is still no country for women.”


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