• Cradle-filling champions seize Italy

    Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni delivers a speech at the Senate ahead of a confidence vote in the new Government, in Rome, 26 October 2022. Photo: Andrew Medichini, AP Photo.

    Would you say that a woman’s life is worthless if she doesn’t have children? This seems inconceivable in a European country. But this is exactly what we are experiencing in Italy.

    Under the new far-right government of Giorgia Meloni, the idea of supporting families goes hand in hand with propaganda, and that’s where problems arise for women.

    Nothing explains it better than this sentence by Isabella Rauti, daughter of the founder of fascist Italian Social Movement party, Pino Rauti. In May, she spoke at the conference of Fratelli d’Italia, Meloni’s party, as a head of the Family department. She said: “Without children, without the joy of being continued, there is no future, there is nothing.”

    Once in government, Meloni set up the Ministry of Natality, whose minister Eugenia Roccella has previously stated that abortion is “not a right”. This week, while launching the budget bill, the government prepared a reform to the pension system.

    It allows earlier retirement to women who have more children. The more children you have, the earlier you can retire. What if you cannot or do not want to have children? Has your partner any role?

    Behind the smokescreen of propaganda, the stark reality remains: women need a supportive welfare system and fair wages, otherwise there is little point in talking about family, traditional or otherwise.

    Giorgia Meloni, who made being “a woman and mother” her brand, leads a party that voted against the equal pay directive in the EU. In Italy, her first obsession is dismissing the universal basic income. For now, the ability to help families seems “much ado about nothing”.

    What happens when propaganda interferes in women’s lives has already been shown. After Fratelli d’Italia won local elections in the Marche region, the right to abortion was put under threat.

    This article is part of the "“Bring more babies!”" edition
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    Number of the week: 24,500
    Blame game always on women
    Helping hand arrives late
    Cradle-filling champions seize Italy