Categories: World

Giorgia Meloni, a pioneer far from being a feminist

Over the course of her political rise, Giorgia Meloni has broken several glass ceilings, finally becoming, on Sunday, the first woman to lead a government in the history of an Italy still marked by patriarchy. But many Italians are far from considering as an ally this 45-year-old Roman, whose motto is “God, family, fatherland” and who defends traditional values ​​while opposing abortion.

“At the end of the day, it’s a positive thing that, for the first time, it’s a woman as head of government,” said Giorgia Serughetti, who teaches political philosophy at the University of Milano-Bicocca. But to go from there to saying that it is a step forward for women is another thing. »

Fratelli d’Italia, the post-fascist party of Giorgia Meloni, came out on top in the September 25 legislative elections with 26% of the vote, a victory in which her personality and oratory skills played a crucial role. In 2019, she introduced herself as follows at a political meeting: “My name is Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am a Christian. »

Giorgia Seughetti interprets these remarks not as a defense of women’s rights, but rather as “a declaration of war against his enemies”: LGBT + rights activists, feminists or defenders of migrants.

“Breaking the heavy glass ceiling placed over our heads”

Giorgia Meloni, who herself is unmarried and had a daughter with her partner, has “never played the feminine card” in a predominantly Catholic country “largely hostile to feminism”.

On Tuesday, in her general policy speech to the deputies, she however paid tribute to the action of all the Italian women who enabled her to “climb and break the heavy glass ceiling placed over our heads”. “Among all the weights that I feel on my shoulders today, there is also that of being the first woman to head a government in this country,” she added.

It also firmly anchored Italy in the heart of the EU and NATO while again distancing itself from fascism. Italy is “fully part of Europe and the Western world”, she said. “I have never had any sympathy or closeness to anti-democratic regimes. For no regime, including fascism”, also insisted on underlining the one who was an admirer of Mussolini in her youth, even if in August she assured that the right had “relegated fascism to history”.

But despite her accession to supreme power, Giorgia Meloni is not seen as a challenge to the “patriarchal model”, underlines Flaminia Sacca, professor of political sociology at the Roman University of La Sapienza. Giorgia Meloni, a working mother, is an exception in a country where only one in two women of working age actually has a job. And it “does not in any way call into question traditional values ​​and Catholic culture”, for which it does not constitute “no threat”.

“Fish on a Bicycle”

And yet, she has overcome many obstacles in her career: in 2008, she became, at 31, the youngest person to have been appointed minister in Italy, in the government of Silvio Berlusconi. She is also the first woman to head a major party in a country where few women have reached important political positions. Until now, women had only managed to conquer the presidency of the chambers of parliament.

In her autobiography published in 2021, Giorgia Meloni argued that the increased presence of women in positions of power would “raise the moral level and the efficiency of our ruling class”. Firmly opposed to any policy of quotas, she affirms in her book to have “never really suffered discrimination during her political career”.

Of its 24 ministers, only six are women, while its coalition has fewer women parliamentarians than any other group. “Giorgia Meloni is for feminism like a fish on a bicycle: (…) not in her place”, noted with irony the philosopher Rosi Braidotti in the newspaper The Republic last August.

Not false. Meloni’s discourse on women focuses mainly on their role as mothers: promoting birth rates and families, free crèches, lower taxes on baby products, etc. “She’s not talking about emancipation or careers, she’s talking about mothers and their right to keep their jobs,” notes Flamina Sacca.

Small demonstrations organized by young people have taken place in Italy, mainly to denounce the anti-abortion positions of their new Prime Minister, who is also opposed to adoptions by same-sex couples and surrogate mothers. The latter, however, promised not to touch the 1978 law authorizing abortion. Emma Bonino, a women’s rights activist who leads the small centrist + Europe party, fears that Giorgia Meloni will “press for the law to be ignored”, making abortion even more difficult, many gynecologists already resorting to the conscientious objection to refuse to practice them.

Source: 20minutes