Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome

Italy celebrates International Women's Day

Italy marks Giornata Internazionale della Donna on 8 March.

International Women's Day, or Giornata Internazionale della Donna, is marked with events across Italy on Wednesday 8 March to commemorate the cultural, political and socio-economic achievements of women.

In a speech on the eve of the annual event, Giorgia Meloni - who became Italy's first woman prime minister last October - said the day of Italy having a female president "is not far away".

"I want to tell the women of this nation that being always or almost always underestimated is a big advantage, because often they don't see you coming", Meloni said during a ceremony in Rome on Tuesday.

Meloni was paraphrasing the award-winning American feminist historian Lisa Levenstein whose 2020 book was titled They Didn't See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties.

The same phrase was used last month by Meloni's political opponent Elly Schlein when she was elected the first woman to lead Italy's opposition centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) party.

 

Margherita Cassano broke another glass ceiling for women in Italy on 1 March when she became the first woman to head Italy's supreme court.

Free museums for women

On 8 March women will have free entry to Italy's state museums and archaeological sites, with numerous cultural events being held in Rome, Milan and other Italian cities.

8 March demonstrations

There are dozens of demonstrations - organised variously by the feminist movement Non una di meno, trade unions, students and other associations - scheduled to take place in cities around Italy on 8 March.

In Rome a march will be held at 17.00, from Via del Campo Boario (Piramide) to Largo Bernardino da Feltre (Trastevere), and in Milan there will be two demonstrations: at 09.30 in Largo Cairoli and at 18.30 in Piazza Duca D'Aosta.

8 March general strike

The Giornata Internazionale della Donna coincides with a national general strike, affecting public transport across Italy, calling for an end to discrimination against women in the workplace.

Mimosa

The traditional gift to women on Festa della Donna in Italy is mimosa, with Italian florists normally selling around 12 million sprigs of the bright yellow flower on the day each year.

However this year, due to drought conditions caused by a winter of little of no rain, the mimosa harvest has fallen by about a third, the agricultural association Coldiretti has warned.

This has led to a surge in prices and reports of thefts from mimosa growers, mainly in the northern Liguria region, with thieves selling the flowers on the black market.

Origins of International Women's Day

International Women's Day (IWD) is a global holiday celebrated annually on 8 March as a focal point in the women's rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.

Its origins date back to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. A year later, the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Woman's Day.

The annual day has been recognised by the United Nations since 1977.

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