Italy: New PM gaffe sparks debate about working women
Rome, 23 April(AKI) - Prime minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi has divided left-wing commentators with controversial comments he made about
the women in Spain's cabinet.
The Italian left-wing daily, Il Riformista, on Wednesday published diverse opinions about
Spain's new defence minister, Carme Chacon, who is seven months pregnant.
Last week, Berlusconi said Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero had appointed too many women to his cabinet, which
he considered "too pink".
Speaking on Radio Monte Carlo, Berlusconi joked that Zapatero "would have problems" because
there were nine women in his new cabinet.
Chacon's role as defence minister has been attacked by journalists from Il
Riformista with journalist Lucetta Scaraffia claiming that the minister was "behaving like a man, and forgetting to be a woman."
second journalist and TV producer Giovanni Minoli wrote an article in the same paper further criticising the female defence
"I do not agree with her theatrical trip to Afghanistan, 'sold' as a symbol
of conquest and modernity," said Minoli, a journalist and director of state-run TV station RAI Educational.
said that it would have been better and more "culturally innovative" if Chacon had sought and obtained leave from executive
office for at least 10 months.
He said this would have allowed her to breastfeed the baby calmly and give her time
to gradually resume her ministerial duties.
"I do not agree with Chacon's nomination as minister of defence being a
symbol of the new Spain, where women are a majority in government," said Minoli.
Last week Spain's minister of infrastructure
said Berlusconi's words were "absolutely inappropriate and offensive" to all Spaniards.
Zapatero has appointed nine
women as ministers, while there are only eight male ministers in Zapatero's cabinet.
Meanwhile, Giovanna Melandri,
Italy's centre-left outgoing youth and sports minister, supported Chacon's decision in a separate news article published on
"Carme is privileged, in the sense that, like me she had the choice of whether to accept or reject the double-challenge
of being a mother and minister at the same time. Nobody ordered her to do it," said Melandri.
Melandri, who is aligned
with the centre-left party of outgoing prime minister Romano Prodi, herself became minister only 40 days after the
birth of her baby girl in 1998.
"For me, it was tiring. Tiring but not impossible. I was lucky, because I had someone
to help me, and the same help should be guaranteed by society to every mother," concluded Melandri in an article published
in the same newspaper.