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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30 2023 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 H istory tells of w o m e n w h o h a v e t r i - u m p h e d i n significant cul- tural battles. From Luisa Spag- noli, a pioneering entrepre- neur, to Fabiola Gianotti, the director of CERN in Geneva; from Elena Lucrezia Corner, reputed to be the first woman to earn a degree in 1678, to physicist Laura Bassi, whose name graces the icebreaker transporting Italian scientific missions to Antarctica. The list extends to astronaut Saman- tha Cristoforetti, the renowned painter Artemisia Gentileschi, Nobel laureate in Medicine Rita Levi Montalcini, Catherine de Medici — the power behind the French throne — and astrophysicist Margherita Hack. The leap from one to anoth- er is astonishingly brief. Regardless of their era, profession, societal role, or background, their legacy isn't just in their achievements but in the enduring social change they've inspired. In Italy, a heartbreaking femicide has seized the public's attention for weeks: a young biomedical engineering student, on the cusp of graduating, was murdered by her 22-year-old ex-boyfriend, mere days before the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. She was a bright, creative soul, dreaming of escaping to a future as a children's book illustrator. He, who had long been her tormentor, bru- tally ended her dreams by stabbing her and leaving her at the bottom of a ravine. She wasn't allowed to leave him, to grad- uate before him, to make her own decisions about her future. In Italy, an average of 150 women are killed each year, one every two days, totalling 600 homicides in the last four years. A recent survey by La Repubblica highlights the daunting There are still many hurdles to overcome, if we want female culture in Italian society to be respected as it should From the Editor and uphill journey facing Italian women: one in three falls victim to violence, yet only 20% manage to fight back. A staggering 80% suffer in silence, at best confiding only in friends. "Breaking the silence," the article states, "is the first step in asserting that violence is never acceptable." Balancing family life with a career remains an insur- mountable challenge for many. The number of careers halted post-pregnancy is just another sign of self-destructive behav- ior in a society failing to harness its talents, squandering sig- nificant investments in education and professional develop- ment. Recent research in Italy reveals that, on average, 18% of women leave the workforce after maternity: for nearly one in five women between the ages of 18 and 49, the birth of a child means a definitive end to their career and income. Only 43.6% stay employed, a figure that decreases as one moves south and to the islands, where less than a third (29%) con- tinue working. Often, these roles are part-time or come with different salary conditions, highlighting how much indepen- dence is 'taken away' from women. The reasons for this set- back include difficulties in balancing work and childcare (52%), contract non-renewal or layoffs (29%), and economic feasibility assessments (19%). The full picture revealed by this report is telling: 31.8% of women do not work either before or after maternity, and only 6.6% find employment post-childbirth. These figures allow two further insights: firstly, the number of working women is minimal, consider- ing a third were not employed before maternity; secondly, those returning to work as if nothing has changed represent a negligible fraction. As we revisit, through our cover story, the incredible achievement of Luisa Spagnoli, we should look beyond just the fashion house or the confectionery industry bearing her name. The true Enterprise, with a capital 'E', of this lady of humble origins, the daughter of a fishmonger and a home- maker born in Perugia in 1877, lies in the revolutionary cul- ture she introduced by breaking a series of taboos and prov- ing that being a woman was not a limit to entrepreneurial abilities. Not only was she the first to sit on the board of her family business, but after World War I, she boldly started a new venture by breeding Angora rabbits for their prized wool, leading to 8,000 breeders sending her combed fur from 250,000 rabbits by mail. Furthermore, beyond her entrepreneurial skills, she is credited with what we would now call the empowerment of women: she built social struc- tures to improve employees' lives, established a nursery in Europe's most advanced confectionery factory, and protect- ed the right to breastfeed in the factory. A form of anti-con- formism and sisterhood that continues today, with 83% of her employees being women, ensuring company welfare policies tailored to women. Grazia Deledda was the first and only Italian woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Maria Montessori, among the first Italian women to graduate in medicine, a child neu- ropsychiatrist and educator, introduced an educational method widespread around the world. Amalia Ercoli Finzi, not only the first Italian woman to graduate in aeronautical engineering, but even at 86 years old, remains a scientific consultant for NASA. These are just three other illustrious names from a long list of scientists, writers, activists, entre- preneurs, economists, or educators that should exist if there were a dignified and correct culture of gender.- Simone Schiavinato, Editor Simone Schiavinato NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS Member of FUSIE (Federazione Unitaria Stampa Italianaall'Estero), COGITO L'Italo-Americano Please send correspondence to P.O. BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano Newspaper (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization), www.italoameri- cano.org, is the largest and longest-running Italian newspaper in America, not to men- tion the cultural and news resource for all things Italian in the US. A bilingual newspaper which represents an historical landmark for the Italian American Communities in the West Coast and throughout the US. L'Italo-Americano benefits from subsidies by the Italian Government, Memberships and Donations intended to support and not interrupt a mission that began in 1908 to preserve and promote the Italian language and culture in the USA Periodicals postage paid at Monrovia, California 91016, and additional mailing offices. PUBLISHER Robert Barbera Grande Ufficiale EDITOR IN CHIEF Simone Schiavinato ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER Patrick Abbate EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Barbara Minafra COPY EDITOR Francesca Bezzone LOS ANGELES CONTRIBUTOR Silvia Nittoli SAN FRANCISCO CONTRIBUTORS Serena Perfetto SEATTLE CONTRIBUTOR Rita Cipalla CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mariella Radaelli, Matt Walker, Francesca Bezzone, Luca Ferrari, Stefano Carnevali, Paula Reynolds, Teresa Di Fresco Nicoletta Curradi, Generoso D'Agnese, Jessica S. Levy, Fabrizio Del Bimbo, Maria Gloria, Chuck Pecoraro, Anthony Di Renzo Serena Perfetto, Kenneth Scambray, Chiara D'Alessio, Luca Signorini, Giulia Franceschini © 2020 L'Italo-Americano Membership: One year $59 - Single copy $2.25 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to L'Italo Americano PO Box 6528 Altadena, CA 91003

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