Italian women demand voice in Covid-19 fight


Women in Italy have demanded a greater role in the country’s official response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Italy has one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in Europe, with almost 30,000 fatalities. Yet the Civil Defence’s daily briefings on the crisis are chaired by men, and the group of experts advising the government does not include any women. In response, Italian women have taken to social media to call for better representation. “We want to be able to exercise our right to be fairly represented,” the Dateci Voce (“give us voice”) Facebook page said. “Reconstruction of the country must be a project shared by women and together.”

A petition started by the group has been signed more than 4,500 times, including by MPs, scientist and researchers.

The page also encouraged Italians to post pictures of themselves wearing face masks with the hashtag Dateci Voce, which was soon trending in Italy. No women were included in Italy’s 20-member technical scientific committee (CTS) – a group of experts advising the government during the coronavirus outbreak.

In contrast, at least 17 of the approximately 55 members of the UK’s equivalent body, Sage, are women. The US only has two women in its 22-strong White House Coronavirus Task Force, although its high-profile response co-ordinator is Dr Deborah Birx. Italy’s taskforce charged with the post-Covid construction of the country fares somewhat better, with four women and 13 men.(BBC)…[+]