Women's voices to overcome discrimination
Looking at my community I see a place where changes are struggling to be made. As a woman and a journalist who mostly writes about gender equality, I usually look at my community trying to identify major problems that Italian women face, trying to come up with ideas that can help women overcoming these problems. Unfortunately, a lot of barriers are still hard to be defeated.
Women’s condition in Italy is hard to explain and to understand as Italy is a European country completely different from its fellow European countries. First of all, Italy is different in terms of sexist discrimination in the working environment. Italian women who are looking for jobs face big discrimination during job interviews as one of the most frequent question is: “Are you planning to get married and have children?” If your answer is yes, probably you don’t get the job. Otherwise, if you say ‘no’, you get the job and, when you get pregnant, you are most likely forced to leave your job as soon as you have your baby. This is because in Italy childcare is all on mums. Paternity leave (as it exists in other European countries like Norway and Sweden, for instance) doesn’t exist in Italy. Besides that, places in public kindergartner (for kids under 3 years old) are not enough for everybody and the private ones or baby-sitters are often too expensive for young parents. Second, media are still perseverating in their sexist view on women. Often Italian TV programs and commercials represent women as sex tools, pretty much naked, acting as stupid girls trying to satisfy rich men’s voyeurism.
A wonderful woman, Lorella Zanardo (who I had the pleasure to meet at a conference), created a movement to say ‘Stop!’ to naked sex tools women on TV. She directed an amazing documentary “Il corpo delle donne” (The women’s body) and she started writing and asking for women’s opinions about this topic. Her blog http://www.ilcorpodelledonne.net/ is one of my favourite one, one of the places where I look at for inspiration.
I feel that many things could be done to overcome women’s problems in my community. First of all, education. Educate people (not only young people I’d say) to look at society through different eyes is the first step in rising of consciousness about problems as sexist discrimination. People should be trained through readings, meetings, and movements’ participation. I personally try to overcome these barriers writing on “Geniodonna” magazine and website (www.geniodonna.it), bringing to Italian readers experiences from countries I know, where I used to live or where I’m living right now. Besides that, I usually participate in meetings with other women to talk about our challenges, trying to find the best solutions. I do think that online communities as “Pari o Dispare” (http://www.pariodispare.org/) and PulseWire are the most efficient tool to discuss solutions, be aware of problems, and raise women’s voices.
This can be done writing about problems, spreading initiatives, and asking other people about their personal solutions.