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A little, costless step: informing the Parliament

Today (one later than beginning of initiative), I've sent a letter to all women sitting at Italian Parliament, informing of the initiative "16 Days Against Gender Violence" and asking for general support.

Just a tiny attempt, entirely costless.

I'm quite convinced that, speaking to people personally of things "real", it is always possible to make some difference, beyond any political belief and religious faith. And people sitting at a Parliament is no less "people" than anyone else. They too love children, know value of happiness and dignity, have suffered their pain, and so on (needless to say this you, of course).

Besides this theoretical and ideal point, a more practical reason exists. Current societies are very complex all over the World. It is materially impossible for even the most active politician to be informed of all what happens. Where possible, that is, if citizens have access to their representatives (in Italy this definitely is), we little ones (little, but citizens of the World have some possibility (and, after all, the obligation) to make them informed of important issues.

Sincerely, I don't know if my attempt will yield little, or big, results. I'll make you all informed.
But, I'm already content: after 10 minutes I sent the messages, I got one answer already. In Italy is night, and I frankly did not hope that.

For whom of you who love hard data, I've some figures from Italy.

In Italy, the Parliament is made of two branches, the Senato and the Camera dei Deputati.

Of the 331 senators, women are 59 in current legislature. They were 45 out of 335 in previous legislature, and 26 out of 338 two legislatures ago. The fraction is already very ("too" in my opinion) small, but there is some increasing trend.

Deputies are more, 630, 134 of whom are women.

In total, I sent e-mail to 191 persons (two of the 193 women in parliament appear not having valid e-mail addresses, unfortunately).

The mailing lists are "available" from Italian Parliament's web site. They have not yet made it available as a downloadable document, but you can easily get it from the single web pages, by copying-and-pasting.

I guess anyone else who would like to do the same will have to make a bit of work. But, nothing difficult for us, right? Just a bit of patience ;-)

Is this attempt replicable in other countries?

Am sure some of us are doing already.

It costs so little (just a "big" bit of time, I admit - this was costly, to me), but it might be worth.
The problem is multi-national, and devises global attention - and involvement of institutions at the highest possible level.

Love (and lot, lot of hope)

Mauri

Comments

jadefrank's picture

Activism is made up of small steps

Hi Mauri,

Wow... this is a great way to participate in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. This encourages me to write my senators and representatives. Because as citizens, this is our right to make our voices heard. Thank you for sharing your activism with us and inspiring me to write my own government.

Cheers,
Jade

Mauri's picture

A small step

Hi Jade!

I'm now at 2 responses. Not so much, but I guess in the weekend few people access their e-mail in Parliament.

Amazingly, both the congresswomen who kindly answered me thanked having been informed. They did not know about the 16 Days!

So, effort in informing our representatives seems not useless.

And, it may open channels - the first who answer may be the more sensitive to the issue.

Cheers,
Mauri

jadefrank's picture

The women of parliament

Hi Mauri,

While 2 responses doesn't sound like much, I am still encouraged to hear that at least these two women in the Italian Parliament have heard your voice and learned of the global movement for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. What I love about global movements is the opportunity to be a part of something that is happening worldwide. To know that all of our actions, no matter how small, are unified and while we may feel small, together we ARE powerful and we are not alone. Let the channels open wide and ring loud!

Cheers,
Jade

Hi Jade,

I feel you are right. Two people responding to my call (the number stands fixed, until today) are anyway a nonzero number.

They felt in need of responding to me personally, and this is by far much more I could have ever expected. They are so sensitive to the problem, to have decided devoting one minute of their overcrowded time to me.

Now we go on with the mobilitation. But on 10 December things will "end" - and we might consider how to do to go on.

I'm imagining a second letter, addressed personally only to these sensitive people, and a few others within my reach. This time, not just flagging a problem, but with some more positive contents (I've still to think about the details). Also, with a request to them to inform me on which already is in progress by the Parliament (many things, I imagine, of which we know quite a little, and which anyone might be interested to know - I'll be happy to post about these initiatives in my journal).

(At least, we Italians should be good at lobbying! History (and crank movies) shows it quite a little bit ;-) )

I'll make you and all informed.

Jade, the subject is too important for "just" 16 days. Might we envision some kind of follow-up? With the CWGL? (I'm letting imagination run a bit).

Love

Mauri

CWGL 16 Days's picture

International 16 Days Campaign

Hi Mauri & Jade,

Thanks so much for your participation in the 16 Days Campaign this year! Writing letters to parliamentarians is a great strategy, and those two responses are heartening. You might also be interested to know that Vincenzo Scotti - Italian Under Secretary of State - signed onto UNIFEM's Say NO to Violence Against Women petition, so he might be another good person to reach out to. Every action counts towards this larger global movement, and I'd be happy to include you in the online International Calendar of Events (http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu/16days/kit09/calendar.html) if you send me more information about your activities. We also have a 16 Days e-mail listserve and Facebook page, which you should join to share information about your efforts.

Mauri - you might be interested in an issue that recently came to our attention. In 2007, a 15-year old girl from the small town of Montalto, Italy, was raped by 8 teenagers at a party. They have been released and the entire county is now publicly blaming the girl, including the police and town authorities. She's going through a terrible court experience, and we're encouraging people to write letters to support her. Here are two news articles about the incident:

http://roma.corriere.it/roma/notizie/cronaca/09_ottobre_21/viaggio_monta...

http://roma.corriere.it/notizie/cronaca/09_ottobre_26/montalto_scontro_t...

If you'd like to write something, you can forward any messages of support to us at CWGL and we will send them to the person who is in touch with the young woman.

Best wishes for your work on the campaign,
Keely
16 Days Campaign Coordinator

jadefrank's picture

Welcome to PulseWire!

Hi Keely,

It was such a joy to see your words here this morning and have your presence in our community! While we're planning to do a larger event next year for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, this year we are encouraging members to write on the topic and share their own activism with our community. The response we've had has been great and you can read the journals here: http://www.worldpulse.com/taxonomy/term/6871.

We've asked members to write throughout the 16 Days and use the tag "16 Days 2009" to add their own voice to the movement. Read more about it here: http://www.worldpulse.com/node/15615

I hope that you can shed some more light on the campaign for our members. I encourage you to use your own journal as a place to introduce yourself and the 16 Days campaign to the PulseWire community. Think of your journal as a blog, where you can speak your mind and reach an audience of over 3000 women and supporters of women's initiatives. Check out what others are writing about in Voices Rising. I think that you will find PulseWire to be an exciting place to garner support for this important movement.

Warm regards,
Jade

Online Community Manager
World Pulse

Mauri's picture

Tiny actions, voices and an idea

Keely,

thank of all the precious data and, most important, your warm support!

I add to Jade's comment: yes, we try in the moment to "give voice". And, meanwhile, connect.

Personally, I'm looking for people sensitive to the problem of gender violence and women/human rights, to establish channels through which, if possible, build something.

I've not yet planned large scale initiative, but I'll do my best on a tiny one: ensuring a follow-up.

As long as they are, the 16 Days then "stop". Who did not know continues as before. And many of whom did know, will remove the problem on 11 December.

So, a follow-up is essential. I'll do personally, and inviting other people to add. My initiative will take the form of a "second" letter, again to all women and sensitive men (I'll include dr. Scotti, too) in parliament, to ask explicitly for some action.

I'll continue through Pulsewire, as I see posting to my journal is an effective way to raise a voice. And, of course, through personal contacts.

I'm intrigued by you and your institution, too. The title itself is something we all would benefit.

Another (long term) form of activism is, ensuring girls receive an appropriate instruction, having time to follow it, and no impediment. A very huge problem, which people much "bigger" than me have addressed.

With some friends in Pulsewire (and maybe, some may add in near future) we are on the way of constituting a group, named "Math Support Gals" (or something similar) aimed specifically at making mathematical, physical and scientific culture accessible and desirable to girls and women - scientific literacy is essential to survive in a technological world.

(The group will rigorously be "multinational", and non-hierarchical in its very nature, something similar to a "complex system" where many small-and-simple parts interact, and a higher level, unexpected behavior emerges).

In the moment we imagine various actions feasible by "normal" teachers, parents, and close people. Like, for example, making (hopefully attractive) class material available free of charge and with no restriction of copyright. Or (just under evaluation) to encourage (even do, if possible) direct activity in classes.

But we would benefit also of the support of "important women of science". We'll try our way, bit by bit, as little ants, and sooner or later someone will answer. But: maybe, you can help.

For the moment, what I ask is: are you interested in supporting us? Feel absolutely free to say "no", if you like. Our ideas, you see, are "clarifying" (that is, still unclear). And the group not yet constituted. But we are determinate, and will do. In addition to being "important", it's also amusing!

About the case of Montalto, I know the case. It was horrible, and its continuation is even worse. It shocked a large part of Italy (although, I see, not Montalto - a damned typical situation following cases of rape in Italy: all blame of her, none on them (even admiration by someone!). That's real horror).

A shocking video (in Italian) can be seen at URL

http://www.dalpaesedeibalocchi.com/?p=3873

So, I am more than happy to add my support to this young woman, almost a child actually, but who unfortunately had to grow faster than acceptable, for any child, anywhere.

Just one question: May I write it in Italian? Please just say me "yes" or "no", I'll adapt (no problem with "English", too, I'll approximate it as I usually do).

Keely, a big hug, and let's stay in touch.

Mauri

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