Rome Travel Guide

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Roman Women: Working in the Streets


There are feminists in Italy, and in Rome, but it would be too much to say that the country, and the city, have embraced women's rights.  Some of this reluctance has to do with the Italian family, an entity held in high regard (to say the least) for generations, if not centuries, and the normative role of women in that family. This was especially true under Fascism, when Mussolini demanded more children per family (at least 8, up to 20) and the state subsidized maternity homes with a tax on spinsters and bachelors, among others.  Naturally, most women stayed home to raise the kids.  Women didn't get the vote until 1946, but adultery by a woman was still a public offense.  Not until 1975 did the Italian parliament abolish the right of a husband to control his wife's existence. 

Caught taking her picture




By 2000, the average family size was 2.6 persons, and only about 2% of families had 4 or more children.  Moreover, women of all ages could be seen scootering around Rome, a form of physical liberation, at least.

Even so, as of the turn of this century less than 1% of Italian managers were women, only 10% of parliamentarians were women (and 33% of Italian women said they wouldn't trust a woman prime minister), only 44% of women were employed--the lowest figure in the European Union--and women were dramatically underrepresented in every basic job category--state employees, factory workers, business owners, self-employed--except office workers, where there was rough parity. 

What's surprising then, is that one sees women cleaning the streets and picking up trash.  Yes, cleaning the streets and picking up trash--jobs usually associated with men and, in Buffalo, where RST sometimes resides, an occupation apparently (from our observation) all male. 

Who would have guessed?

Bill

As part of her job, this woman postal worker gets to ride a scooter--on the sidewalk even. 

1 comment:

andhollis said...

The female trash collectors we have observed do their job with full make-up and nails! Sempre la bella figura.
I hadn't realized that italian women were "granted" the right to vote in 1946, that was a shocker.