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Controversy in Italy over gelato for International Women's Day

Genoa launches three new flavours of ice cream dedicated to women.

As Italy prepares to mark International Women's Day on Friday, a controversy has broken out over an initiative in Genoa offering women three new flavours of gelato.

The ice cream offer by three Genovese gelaterie is backed by municipal and regional authorities in the north-west Italian city as well as by the Confartigianato group that serves small business owners and artisans.

The three different flavours include "Val d’Oro e Ibisco" made with a selection of citrus fruits and an infusion of red tea and hibiscus; "Women”, a blueberry and sparkling wine sorbet with passion fruit ripple and grated lemon peel; and “Primavera in rosa”, a pink semifreddo coloured with berry puree and decorated with sponge cake.

"Three different flavors to highlight the uniqueness of each woman, a sweet opportunity to reflect once again on equal opportunities", declared the president of Confartigianato Genova Felice Negri.

The initiative was presented officially on Tuesday by Genova's councillor for equal opportunities Francesca Corso and her counterpart in the Liguria region Simona Ferro, reports Corriere della Sera.

“The three flavours of ice cream dedicated to International Women's Day are a laudable initiative that shines a spotlight on gender equality and the need to build a truly inclusive and woman-friendly society together,” stated Corso.

"Even a simple gesture like eating an ice cream becomes an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of 8 March", added Ferro.

The initiative has sparked a backlash on social media in Italy amid an ongoing debate about the culture of patriarchy, women's rights and gender inequality.

Corriere della Sera also noted that the gelato campaign is a "purely commercial move - the ice creams will be sold at full price, no donations to associations or anti-violence centres are envisaged, there will be no discounts for women."

The feminist collective Non Una Di Meno, which is organising rallies and strikes across Italy on Friday "against patriarchal violence", slammed the Genovese gelato offer.

It responded with a statement noting that France has just enshrined abortion rights in its constitution, the Spanish region of Catalonia is offering women and girls free and reusable period products, while "in Liguria they let us taste three new flavours of pink ice cream. We deserve better."

No Justice No Peace Italia also took aim at the campaign, imagining three alternative flavours: "equal pay", "self-determination over one's own body" and "end of patriarchal rape culture".

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