Women protest Italy’s sexism culture
A protest in Rome on Sunday attracted thousands of women demanding greater rights, called for ending discrimination, and blamed a “macho culture” for the crisis in the euro zone’s third-largest economy.
The Sunday rally, held in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo, follows mass protests last February when Italian women said “basta” to then-president Silvio Berlusconi’s sexism culture, a culture still pervasive throughout Europe.
Cristina Comencini, one of the leaders of the rally, said, “The government has changed, but not the country,” The Telegraph
reports. “Se non ora quando?” she added, “If not now, when?”
The rally, along with rallies in other cities, including Turin and Venice, reportedly drew 20,000 people. The movement’s purpose is women’s rights protections, including a battle against discrimination and the right to work.
Berlusconi is currently on trial for paying for sex with a 17-year-old Egyptian escort named “Ruby Heartbreaker”and then having her released from jail after her arrest over a charge of theft.
The leftist Sinistra e Liberta party’ s leader, Nichi Vendola notes the country’s current financial and political crisis “is also the product of a vulgar and macho culture,” according to the Telegraph.
Italy’s ongoing debt crisis is expected to face more difficulties in the coming months, with the first quarter of 2012 being “a very painful auction experience, which is detrimental to investor confidence, said Padhraic Garvey, head of developed-market debt strategy at Amsterdam’s ING Groep NV, Bloomberg
Although some see value in Italian investments, an overriding lack of confidence is currently another of the country’s woes. “Italian yields at about 7 percent represent fantastic value for investors, but demand is low because there's no confidence that the debt crisis can be solved quickly enough,” Garvey added.
The European debt crisis
is expected to see additional pressures as the euro zone struggles in resolving the issue. The European Central Bank is currently seen as offering no “emphatic action” to help cash-strapped European banks, according to Reuters. On Monday,, the euro dropped 0.8 percent against the dollar, to $1.3255.
“There is a deflated feeling for the euro this morning after the EU summit. People were looking for a greater response and more importantly the ECB refused to significantly step up their bond buying,” said Beat Siegenthaller, a UBS currency strategist, Reuters
Berlusconi resigned in November, ending a 17-year reign of Italy’s political machine. Some women in Italy were fed up with his political influence and scandals he faced beginning in 2009. At a Women in the World
discussion in March, panelists derided Berlusconi’s cavalier attitude toward the scandals which eventually led to his departure.
Barbie Nadeua, one of the panelists, and a Newsweek and Daily Beast writer, noted the former PM was a vital part of the creation and perpetuation of “a culture of slbliminal sexism that all Italian women deal with [and that] does translate to the economy, to daily life,” the Daily Beast