Italian Feminism and The Power of Social Networking


Sexism and gender inequity runs rampant in Italy. Much of this has to do with traditional and cultural expectations of women. This has contributed to high unemployment rates for women, even though they, more often than their male counterparts, hold a university degree. According to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index, Italy ranks 74th of the 134 countries included. In short, that's a horrifying rank. What can this be attributed to? Well, the misogynist Prime Minister, Berlusconi, has definitely not helped matters. Berlusconi owns 90% of all Italian media, and has the power to showcase women any way he wants. It's pretty evident that what Berlusconi "wants" is an alluring, sexually available temptress. While I lived in Italy, I was amazed at how any woman on any station/show exuded a specific type of sexuality, creating an advertisement for men-by men, and of course a visual aid for women to know how they should look and act.

Needless to say, Italian women are unhappy with the current state of things, and because their outwardly sexist Prime Minister owns so much of the media, these women are taking to social networking on the internet to inspire and create change. One such organization, Se Non Ora Quando? (If Not Now When?) has been spreading their message of gender equality via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and WordPress. Through the use of these tools, Se Non Ora Quando? have organized marches and protests against Berlusconi, his regime, and conservative politics in Italy. At these protests, women have held homemade signs stating, "Italy is not a brothel", and "Basta" (Enough). Besides protests, Se Non Ora Quando? has also organized forums in various Italian cities to bring to light the current status of Italian women, and plans on how to move forward. Their current Facebook page boasts 49,659 fans. Basically, this new movement of Italian feminism is growing rapidly.

The organization states on their blog:

The movement, Se Non Ora Quando, was born to defend and reaffirm the dignity of women, but it has consolidated and expanded, because we have connected the common painful condition of Italian women to the general decline of the country. (translated from Italian)

It's exciting to see Italian women fighting for change. I feel like in the U.S. we don't often hear about Italian feminism as being a "current" thing. Se Non Ora Quando? proves feminism is alive and well in Italy, and kicking some serious ass.