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Women's voices to overcome discrimination

Lorella Zanardo, il corpo delle donne

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.

Pari o Dispare community

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Comments

Queenette's picture

Nice One

This is a nice piece you have here, i can feel literally feel some of the issues you raised because there are some similarities with what goes on in my country Nigeria, sex they say sell these days but women are a lot more than that if only more women realize this fact and fight against.

Q'nette
Lagos, Nigeria

elenaroda's picture

Thanks Queenette, it's really

Thanks Queenette, it's really interesting that you found some similarities between Nigeria and Italy. I'd like to know more about your experience in your country about these topic. How's Nigerian TV and commercials on this issue? How do you feel as a woman in Nigeria? Do you feel that gender equlit is far to be reached or your country is on the right track?

Thank you!

Elena

KathyG's picture

Hypocrisy

I've always been struck by the hypocrisy the media has about women. This hypocrisy then goes to influence and seep into our culture. Women are suppose to be sexy, yet nurturing/motherly, yet tough business women, but never aggressive or domineering . Models look like they are going to die from starvation, while the average woman is thought to be too fat. Girls become sex symbols before they know what sex is. With all these mixed messages to both women and men, no wonder folks are confused. I agree education is the key.

Thank you for a thoughtful piece. Keep on spreading the word.

Kathy

elenaroda's picture

Thank you Kathy! I hope

Thank you Kathy!

I hope education will really change people's minds. Women deserve respect and fairness.

Thank you for your comment,

Elena

viochan's picture

Fabulous post

Ciao Elena,
Great post and great insight. It reminds us that women all over the world, not just in developing countries, still have a long way to go to reach equality in the home and in the workplace.

Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

Violeta

elenaroda's picture

Thanks Violeta! I absolutely

Thanks Violeta!

I absolutely agree: it's not a matter of where you live, women have to fight for their rights everywhere, both in developing countries and developed ones.

Thank you very much for your comment!

Elena

Kaleidoscope Girl's picture

Clear. Concise. Caring.

Dearest Elena,

Thank you for sharing your voice with us is such a clear, concise and caring manner.

Your piece shed a very necessary light on issues and on a country that many may overlook!

I wish you all the best as you continue to share your insights, discoveries and vision for your VALUABLE VOICE.

- Kaleidoscope Girl.

"Write your life so others may be ILLUMINATED."

elenaroda's picture

Thank you! :-)

Thank you! :-)

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