Italy’s Delegation Highlights Progressive Programmes in Countering Criticism of Negative Attitudes towards Women by Anti-discrimination Committee

Strongly criticized today for harbouring negative stereotypes of women and discriminatory attitudes toward immigrants and minorities, Italian officials countered by describing their country’s recent enactment of robust and progressive programmes on both fronts, as the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women took up Italy’s sixth periodic report. 

Women in Italy were more integrated into society than ever before, said Diego Brasioli, head of the State delegation, as he presented the report.  “They have a great range of life choices,” he added, citing concrete programmes — including child-care services, economic support for those working from home and tax breaks — now in place to support women in the labour market.  An important new bill aimed to ensure that women had equal access to elected and public positions, he told the 23-member expert panel.  Numerous programmes were also in place to support vulnerable women at all levels of Italian society. 

Among specific progress achieved since its last periodic review, Italy had adopted its first National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, by which it monitored relevant sectors, he said.  The country had also adopted the National Plan on Violence against Women and Stalking, in addition to establishing a Government unit and working group on stalking and sexual violence.  Despite the current global financial crisis, Italy had also managed to preserve its extensive annual budget for the protection of human-trafficking victims, he said, adding that the elaboration of a new national plan on trafficking was slated for completion by November 2011.  But despite those success stories, complete equality had yet to be achieved, he said.  Women, who now made up nearly half of the national workforce, still earned about 5 per cent less than men, and many of them remained overstretched by the need to reconcile work and family-care obligations. 

Following Mr. Brasioli’s presentation, Committee experts commended the 21-member delegation — which was joined via video conference by colleagues in Rome — on their country’s progress in protecting some aspects of women’s rights, but all agreed that more remained to be done.  Italy ranked seventy-fourth in a well-known world gender report, one expert said, while another noted that the country was noteworthy for its gender imbalance in terms of elected office.  Yet a third Committee member stressed that Italy had no coherent policy for reconciling the responsibilities of parenthood and employment, describing women’s widespread maternity-related resignation as a grave violation of the Convention. 

Several experts also pointed to persistent negative stereotyping of women in advertising and media, with one recalling that the Committee, in reviewing Italy’s previous reports, had called for measures — including legislative steps — to combat stereotypical portrayals.  She asked whether that recommendation had been implemented, while several of her colleagues asked whether remedial programmes functioned in a comprehensive way to cover sectors as diverse as education and mass media. 

In response, one delegate described recent initiatives implemented with a view to promoting positive images of women.  The Government was implementing one such programme in collaboration with the Institute of Self-Discipline, an umbrella organization working with private marketing and communications companies across Italy, to withdraw sexist or distorted images of women from advertising.  Another initiative required the State television station to show “modern” images of women, while a third consisted of a voluntary self-regulation programme for commercial television. 

Throughout the day, many experts raised concerns about discrimination against immigrant women, who accounted for nearly half of the 50,000 immigrants who had arrived in Italy since January 2011 alone.  Meanwhile, a 2009 law had made illegal immigration a criminal offence, she said, urging Italy to review that legislation to ensure that trafficking victims did not fall into the category of irregular or illegal migrants. 

With regard to pervasive negative attitudes towards Italy’s Roma population, which continued unabated in Italy, according to the experts, one Committee member pointed out that some 20,000 Roma children under the age of 12 were not fulfilling their educational obligations.  Such troubling conditions resulted from a deep distrust of a Government perceived by Roma communities as “hostile”, she said.  Yet another expert referred to a “state of emergency” declared in 2008 to deal with nomadic settlements, which remained in place today.  The Committee member urged the Government to repeal the state of emergency, saying that would signal its willingness to engage positively with the Roma population. 

A delegate responded by emphasizing the critical importance of forging close links between efforts to sensitize the population to the plight of marginalized communities and social-inclusion programmes.  Many community programmes paid special attention to the Roma, particularly in the areas of education and housing, he said, citing a 2008 project focused on creating social-inclusion tools for public administrators.  Italy had been the first country to carry out a Council of Europe campaign to combat prejudice, he said, adding that other programmes were being developed, including a strategy for the inclusion of Roma women in the labour market.

July 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm Leave a comment

OUR MAIN CONCERNS and our priorities as civil society

List of main concerns jointly submitted to the CEDAW Committee by the Italian Platform “30 years CEDAW: work in progress” and the organizations who jointly submitted the Shadow Report on Women’s drug dependence, HIV/AIDS and the criminal justice system.

  1.  Establishment of an independent institution for human rights and women’s rights, not as designed in the draft bill adopted by the Council of Ministers 03.05.2011. 
  2. To guarantee universal and secular access for women to sexual and reproductive rights. 
  3. To guarantee a code of ethics for all mass-media to combat a stereotyped portrayals of women and girls. 
  4. More protection, economic measures and non discrimination of women’s family rights as a consequence of separation and divorce. 
  5. To guarantee the existence of independent and secular shelters through stable funding and to promote the creation of new ones. 
  6. To guarantee reparation for all and the protection for high-risk survivors of gender violence.
  7. To guarantee fundamental rights (work, health, education, protection from violence) of women belonging to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, especially women deprived of their personal freedom. 
  8. No discrimination based on sexual orientation. Acknowledgment of fundamental social and civil rights to LGBTQI[1] people. 
  9. No criminalization of free and voluntary (indoor and outdoor) prostitution. Labour rights for sex workers.

 


[1] Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersexual people.

July 19, 2011 at 9:37 am Leave a comment

Italy Submits CEDAW Shadow Report

The platform “30 years CEDAW: work in progress” submitted CEDAW Shadow Report to the CEDAW Committee. According to the report, Italian Government has not fulfilled its obligations under the Convention: no action was taken to disseminate the Convention, Optional Protocol, and Concluding observation. Civil society consultations in the reporting process was unclear in its objectives, actors involved, and was not transparent. No discussion of the concluding observations was done in the National Parliament, regional Legislative Assemblies and in local administrations. No progress was made in the establishing of an independent human rights institution that can protect and promote women rights. Although there is a draft b ill for a NHRI, it is inadequate as it does not conform to the Paris Principles and is in fact a regression when compared to a former draft bill which received technical advice from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The government formal approach to gender equality makes impossible to adopt comprehensive and long term strategy to combat structural discrimination against gender and sexual orientation based discrimination.

Machismo attitudes are widely tolerated. The mass media and the political debate has reinforced them through frequent sexual references, stereotyped expressions and a degrading representation of the body and the role of women in society.

Read the full report from here.

July 13, 2011 at 8:17 am Leave a comment

Oral Statement of the Italian CEDAW Platform “30 years CEDAW – work in progress” at UN

Thank you Madam Chair,

I am Simona Lanzoni, speaking on behalf of the Italian Platform “30 years CEDAW – WORK IN PROGRESS”. I’m here with my colleagues Claudia Signoretti and Barbara Spinelli.

The Shadow report was written in collaboration with 8 organizations and endorsed by one hundred organizations, that make up one million individuals. We would highlight main critical issue:

  • CEDAW implementation and promotion of women’s rights,
  • Employment and welfare,
  • Political participation of women,
  • Sexual and reproductive rights,
  • Protection of survivors of gender violence,
  • Trafficking and Prostitution.

 Implementation of CEDAW and promotion of women’s rights

Italian Government has not fulfilled its obligations under the Convention: no action was taken to disseminate the Convention, OP, and Concluding observation. Civil society consultations in the reporting process was unclear in its objectives, actors involved, and was not transparent. No discussion of the concluding observations was done in the National Parliament, regional Legislative Assemblies and in local administrations. No progress was made in the establishing of an independent human rights institution that can protect and promote women rights. Although there is a draft b ill for a NHRI, it is inadequate as it does not conform to the Paris Principles and is in fact a regression when compared to a former draft bill which received technical advice from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Read more

July 13, 2011 at 8:10 am 1 comment

WIDE Italy at 49th CEDAW Meeting in New York

Today, July 11th 2011, the 49th CEDAW has officially started at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Woman will review the situation of women in the following eight countries: Costa Rica, Zambia, Italy, Ethiopia, Republic of Korea, Nepal, Djibouti and Singapore. 

Violence against women, political participation, discriminatory family law, eliminating gender stereotypes and preventing trafficking will be some of the areas explored by a Committee of 23 experts, whose current Chairperson is Silvia Pimentel of Brazil. 

Following the eight reviews, the experts will adopt concluding observations, making recommendations that each Government is obliged to fulfil in order to eliminate discriminations against women. 

Today (July 11th) has been dedicated to the civil society: Costa Rica, Zambia, Italy and Ethiopia have introduced their oral statements to highlight the main issues. 

The Report of the Italian network “30 years CEDAW – work in progress” represented in New York by Claudia Signoretti and Simona Lanzoni, from Fondazione Pangea and Barbara Spinelli from the Italian Association of Democratic Lawyers, covered all the articles of the Convention.  

In addition the reports on Drug dependence, HIV and criminal justice (by International Association for Harm Reduction, Democratic Lawyers, Itaca Association and Antigone) and on the Roma women (by the European Roma Rights Centre) were presented. 

The statement of the Italian network “30 years CEDAW – work in progress” was focused on:

  • CEDAW implementation  and promotion of women’s rights,
  • Employment and welfare,
  • Political participation of women,
  • Sexual and reproductive rights,
  • Protection of victims of gender violence,
  • Trafficking and Prostitution.

 It is the first time that the Italian civil society and particularly the female associations attend the CEDAW session, presenting its own Shadow Report, endorsed by more than a hundred organizations and many individuals, women and men. For this reason there was a big interest in the activities run by the Platform for the implementation of the Convention in Italy and the issues raised in the Report and in the Oral statement. The excitement was huge, as the work to be done in the next future.

July 13, 2011 at 8:10 am Leave a comment

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

The international conference “Women’s rights are human rights” was held in Bologna on January 14th 2010, organized by the Italian Association “Giuristi Democratici”.

Here you can find the publications from this event.

RASHIDA MANJOO_strumenti internazionali per promuovere i d_

ACIERNO_Quali diritti per le donne

BALBONI_ Gli strumenti di protezione internazionale e comunitaria dei diritti delle donne

RASHIDA MANJOO_Le procedure speciali e il mandato dello Special Rapporteur ONU sulla violenza contro le donne

MISEROCCHI_LA COSTITUZIONE DI PARTE CIVILE DI ENTI, SINDACATI, ASSOCIAZIONI NEI REATI INTEGRANTI VIOLENZA DI GENERE

HOFMEISTER_PRATICHE TRADIZIONALI CONTRO LE DONNE

HOFMEISTER_CEDAW e protocollo opzionale passi avanti per una democrazia di genere

FAVA_COME USARE LA CEDAW E LA LEGGE INTERNAZIONALE PER ELIMINARE LA VIOLENZA CONTRO LE DONNE

RASHIDA MANJOO_Le procedure speciali e il mandato dello Special Rapporteur ONU sulla violenza contro le donne

May 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm Leave a comment

CEDAW Campaign: Publications from Italy

These documents have been elaborated by Italian network in the frame of CEDAW Campaign.

The first document is the booklet, for a general overview on CEDAW and the Italian campaign.

The other three documents are thematic papers the network has prepared in collaboration with the international partners, to inform on some experiences regarding the CEDAW implementation and the active and key role played by the civil society.

CEDAW Booklet

CEDAW Afghanistan

CEDAW Marocco

CEDAW India

May 5, 2010 at 2:03 pm Leave a comment

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