Gender versus agenda: Prospect of far-right female PM divides Italian women

Gender versus agenda: Prospect of far-right female PM divides Italian women

World News


If Italy elects the nation’s first female premier, will its women be delighted or dismayed?

Should opinion polls prove on the mark, Giorgia Meloni and the far-right Brothers of Italy party she co-founded less than a decade ago will triumph in the September 25 election. Meloni might then be asked by Italy’s president to try to form a viable coalition government with right-wing allies.

For many female voters, it’s a question of gender versus agenda.

Some worry that Meloni, who exalts motherhood, might seek to erode women’s rights, including abortion access.

For her supporters, what matters is her conservative, “God, homeland and family” platform, not her sex.

Brothers of Italy has roots in a neo-fascist movement that hailed the legacy of Benito Mussolini, who bestowed prizes on women who had many children. The party took around 4% of votes in the last election, in 2018, but according to some pollsters it could win nearly 25% in this one.

Licia Donati, as a young Communist activist in the 1960s, fought for the legalisation of divorce, which came in 1970. She also mobilised so Italian courts would recognise that wives have the same right to justice as husbands in a country where, until 1981, laws sanctioned leniency for men who murdered women to preserve “family honor.”

If Meloni does become Italy’s first female premier, it would be “a rupture (with the past) in the sense she is a woman, but it would be going backward in terms of the conservative women’s culture,” said Donati, 84, a Tuscan native who lives in Rome.

Donati said that if she could speak to the politician, she would say: “What battle did you wage for women, what did you do? Nothing.”

Meloni, 45, is the only main party leader who didn’t join Premier Mario Draghi’s pandemic national unity government in 2021. She has generally refrained from pitching for women’s votes simply because she is a woman. But she has snapped back at contentions that it wouldn’t be a victory for women if she becomes premier.

According to pollsters, Meloni attracts slightly more male than female voters. And her conservative views are off-putting to some women, including Alice Riboli, who at 18 can vote for the first time. “It would be better to see a woman in politics hold a role of that kind (like premier), but perhaps not her. Maybe someone with ideas a little more open, more current,? said Riboli, from Aosta, northern Italy.

At Meloni’s first campaign rally last month in Ancona, a city in Marche, about 1,000 wildly cheering supporters far outnumbered the couple of dozen protesters, most of them women, on a side street. “You ooze hate and you don’t represent me,? read one protesting woman’s placard.

But other women back Meloni’s agenda.

Lavinia Mercante, 25, from Rome, said she backs her “as a politician, not as a woman.” Mercante wants to see the political right come to power.
Still others are indifferent. “I think I don’t care if the right or the left wins,” said Caterina Bazzani, 52. “I want a government, voted for by Italians, that will last five years and accomplish its program.”





Source link

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments