WOMEN DRIVE CHANGE - The red thread of the Italian Embassy's initiatives in Women's History Month 2023

Mar 17, 2023 178

"Women leading forces of change, in every sphere, from foreign policy to economics, from art to education." This, points out the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Mariangela Zappia, is the common thread of the Italian Embassy in Washington's commitment to Women's History Month 2023.

The importance of a women's perspective in foreign policy and international security; the impact of women's employment on economic growth; great Italian women protagonists in design and fashion; the challenges of women artists; and access to higher education denied to young Afghan women are the themes on which the main initiatives conducted by the Embassy for the occasion focus.

On March 2, Ambassador Zappia, together with her counterparts from Denmark and Ireland, spoke at the workshop "Women in Diplomacy," organized by the School of International Service at American University. The discussion covered the main topics of current international affairs from the perspective of three women leading European Embassies in Washington: the war in Ukraine, the transatlantic relationship, and relations with China. The added value of a "feminist" foreign policy and the direct correlation between women's employment rate and economic growth also emerged in the reflection.

On March 8 at 6 p.m., the seminar "Women & Art Today: Women and Contemporary Art in Italy and beyond," on the relationship between contemporary Italian women artists and women's empowerment, was held at the Vital Voices headquarters in Washington. The focus of the event was the social engagement of young contemporary women artists, Italian in particular, who in their works address issues of the intersection of their diverse social identities and with their own experiences of discrimination and oppression. Speakers included Markette Sheppard (Senior Director Communications at Vital Voices), Cecilia Canziani (curator of the "I Say I" exhibition at GNAM in Rome), Ilaria Conti (curator of art focusing on contemporary art and social justice) and Susan Sterling (Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts).

On March 16, Ambassador Zappia will open in Miami "Fashion is Female: Lights on Italian Design as Cultural Legacy," the central event of the U.S. review for Italian Design Day 2023. In the setting of the new Italian Cultural Institute in Miami, iconic garments signed by famous Italian designers who have made Italian fashion great all over the world since the postwar period will be on display: Elsa Schiaparelli, the Fontana Sisters, Fernanda Gattinoni, Mila Schon, Krizia, Lella Curiel, Laura Biagiotti and Miuccia Prada. In the exhibition, organized by the Consulate General, together with Salone del Mobile, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and the on-site offices of Istituto Marangoni and ICE, each garment will be juxtaposed with light sources from famous Italian brands such as Flos, Foscarini, Artemide, Kartell and Baleri Italia, set up as micro-architectures that interact with each garment to enhance it.

On March 21 at 5 p.m., a screening of the film "Tell It Like a Woman," nominated for the 2023 Academy Award for Best Original Song 'Applause,' produced by Italy's ILBE in collaboration with We Do It Together, by Chiara Tilesi, is scheduled at the historic Avalon Theatre in the U.S. capital. The feature film is a choral fresco in seven stories, some from real life and others fictional, depicting women facing particular challenges that make them stronger and more self-aware. Each tale was curated by an international director-including Italy's Maria Sole Tognazzi-and the film features stars such as Eva Longoria, Cara Delavigne and Italy's Margherita Buy.

On March 27, the Italian Embassy in Washington will host the event "Afghanistan's Education Crisis: Ensuring Access to Education for Women and Girls," in collaboration with the ''Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security-GIWPS'' and ''Women In International Security-Italy.'' Speakers at the event are expected to include Afghan personalities, experts in the field of education and human rights, representatives of international organizations and partners, academics and policy-makers. At the center of the dialogue will be the drama of denied access to secondary education and university for Afghan girls and women; the spaces for action available to the international community to contribute to the urgent removal of these obstacles, the restoration of educational pathways for young women and the creation of new ones, an essential prerequisite for the full inclusion of Afghan women in the social and economic sphere of their country, for the benefit of society as a whole; and the challenges and opportunities related to these issues, also in relation to the action of international organizations, civil society and other local actors. Participating in the reflection will be Rina Amiri, U.S. Special Envoy for Afghan Human Rights, Women and Girls, Adela Raz, former Afghan Ambassador to the UN and the U.S. and Director of the SPIA Afghanistan Policy Lab, Richard Bennett, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan, Habiba Sarabi, former Minister for Women's Affairs and Governor of Bamyan Province, among others.

Throughout March, the Embassy of Italy is participating in the EU Delegation to the United States' social media campaign for Women's History Month. The campaign amplifies the stories of European women and women-led organizations in Europe working to support the Ukrainian people in defending against the Russian invasion. For Italy, the Embassy has chosen the association D.i.Re - Women in Network against Violence (Women against violence), which runs two Blue Dot garrisons in Tarvisio (Udine) and Fernetti (Trieste) for Ukrainian women fleeing their country, in collaboration with UNHCR Italy and UNICEF Italy and with ARCI, Save the Children Italy and the association "Stella Polare." From April to December 2022, D.i.Re met with more than 3,000 Ukrainian women and their children fleeing war in search of protection and support. In 63 cases, the association activated its anti-violence centers highlighting how gender-based abuse and violence continue, in different forms, even after fleeing the country.

SOURCE: Italian Embassy in the USA

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