What factors do you think have led to the difference in treatment between men and women?
They are essentially economic and cultural. Over the centuries a productive system based on a strict distinction of roles has been established. Women are responsible for personal care and reproduction, men for productivity. Over time this system – which is called patriarchy – has led to a progressive control over women. Patriarchy is a system that tends to self-preservation thanks to the collaboration of all, men and women (the latter convinced that there is no alternative or because they feel protected by the system). Naturally, however, men have obtained the greatest benefits in social and economic terms.
Do you think that there are countries that are more virtuous than others in eliminating the gender gap?
The World Economic Forum has just published the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 and ranked the ten most virtuous countries in terms of gender equality. In first place is Iceland, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden. So far, nothing unusual, we know that Northern Europe is ahead on this issue. Nicaragua is favourably placed in fifth place, followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Rwanda and Germany. It would be interesting to read each country’s report carefully to see what actions have been implemented.
What concrete actions do you think should be implemented in order to reduce the unequal treatment of men and women?
Every country has its own social, cultural and religious structure. In Italy the absolute priority for everyone is growth. For women, it is fundamental to design and finance a welfare system capable of supporting families and to do so, it would be necessary to seriously recover the money from tax evasion. And intervene on domestic violence. In fact, despite the signing of the Istanbul Convention, in Italy there is still a lack of adequate training on gender-based violence and often women not only suffer violence, but if they report they risk losing custody of their children based on a practice that has spread over the last ten years and that accuses them of parental alienation syndrome (known as PAS or AP), an ascientific construct according to which if a child rejects one parent the fault is always of the other, regardless of the reasons, theorized by an American doctor who committed suicide, Richard Gardner, known for his claims on pedophilia.
On this issue, do you think that we should act differently in developing countries than in developed countries? If so, how?
As I said, every country has its own social, cultural and religious structure. There are, however, useful points of reference. For example, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which set out gender equality in point 5. But also the World Health Organization that with the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. campaign has defined an intervention strategy on women’s health.
Do you think that this situation should also be treated at European level? If so, how?
Europe already does. If we look at the World Economic Forum rankings, Europe is already the continent with the best gender equality, and I believe that we women should hold fast to that. Our national gender equality legislation owes a great deal of progress to the implementation of European directives. The speeches on parental leave and the issue of the difference in wages between men and women should be mentioned in general. Finally, I am sure that the current President, Ursula von der Leyen, who launched the Green New Deal, will still do a great deal for women. It is important for us to continue to inform and support what Europe does for us.