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La Pietra Dialogues On the World On-Line
Remarks by Emma Bonino, Vice President of the Italian Senate
First International Town Hall on the Status of Women
La Pietra Dialogues

Women’s rights is an important issue in Italy because after the big movements of the 1970s and 1980s we have been living a phase, in my opinion, of cultural regression, and therefore, substantial regression. All of the data show that women in our country - in their access to the labor market, careers, the quality of salaries, etc., are the last in Europe and I think it is important to start marching again because in the meantime we have experienced the kind of cultural regression in which women are no longer actors and people, but have been given preconceived roles: either the mother of a family or other activities, and then maybe she will find some time to work. I think this is an important step backwards and we need to react to it. That’s why I think we have to start again and I think the Italian case shows that any achievement in human rights and women’s rights is not forever, you have to fight every day to maintain what you have achieved. We got those rights and then we forgot them, but sooner or later we have to wake up and realize that they are not there anymore. And that is a big lesson we have to learn... If women’s rights and human rights are a value and they are not for free, then like every value, you have to care for them, to monitor them, to nourish them, to, let’s say, make them live, and not just take them for granted. I think that is a lesson that we have to keep in mind and I hope our young friends from everywhere in the world will keep that in mind: every achievement is not forever and will not stand alone unless you nourish it every single day.

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