WOMEN AND POLITICS
Many women have been extremely important for
ANNA MARIA MOZZONI (1837-1920)
Anna Maria Mozzoni was the founder of the Italian women's
movement and a prominent campaigner for women’s suffrage and
For her, law reforms and women’s suffrage were key points to
overthrow what she labelled as the “domestic monarchy”, or the
tyranny of men over women, both in the family and society.
She struggled for women’s suffrage, presenting petitions to
Parliament as early as 1877.
Her radical egalitarianism influenced the emerging women’s
movement in Italy in the 1890s. Her work earned her the right to
represent Italy at the International Congress of Women's Rights in
Paris in 1878.
From1866 she was a tireless advocate for women’s education, and
in 1881 she founded the League for the Promotion of the Interests of
Women in Milan, to stimulate women's consciousness of their
LINA MERLIN (1887-1979)
Lina Merlin was one of the most important Italian women in the
past century. She worked for women as well as for children’s
rights. She collaborated with the socialist MP Giacomo Matteotti,
who reported the violence of the fascist squads in Padua.
She fought as a partisan during the Second World War. In 1945,
she was appointed Commissioner for Education in Lombardy.
In February 1958, the Italian Parliament enacted Law No.
75/1958 or the Law on the Abolition of the Regulation of
Prostitution and the Fight Against the Exploitation of the
Prostitution of Others. Widely called the ‘Merlin’ law, it came
into force six months later.
Thanks to her, the Italian Parliament enacted other important
laws: the abolition of the infamous words "son of NN“ from the
IDs of foundlings (October 1955); the equality of illegitimate and
legitimate children in tax matters; the elimination of the
difference between adopted and natural children; the so-called
"party clause" in contracts of employment, which required the
dismissal of married women (Law no. 7 of 9 January 1963).
NILDE IOTTI (1920-1999)
Nilde Iotti was an Italian politician from the
Communist Party. She was the first woman Speaker
of the Chamber of Deputies for three consecutive
terms from 1979 to 1992.
In1946, she was a member of the Constituent
Assembly, and one of the 75 members of the
Committee entrusted with the drafting of the Italian
In April 1948 she was elected on the ticket of the
Italian Communist Party (PCI) to the Chamber of
Deputies, of which she was a member until 1999.
In 1979, she was appointed Speaker of the Lower
House of Parliament. She was popular and respected
as a Speaker, and was confirmed for two more terms.
She was the closest PCI member, and the first
woman, to become Prime Minister in Italy.