Women's G20: open letter to Minister Bonetti

The ideological paritarianism of the 1970s is at an end. Women and the world need female difference. And the revalorisation of the maternal bond as the root of a new human civilisation.
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The first G20 Conference dedicated to women is being held today in Santa Margherita Ligure: this open letter calls for a political change. Let's focus on the female difference, without limiting ourselves to talk about equality: women are asking for a long-awaited change.

It is possible to think of Women's G20 as an innovative and original moment of reflection for our lives as women?

The events in Afghanistan in recent hours remind us that Decades of resources and work can be destroyed in an instant.male power can quickly return to its origins and drive women's bodies back to the terrain of contention and restoration. 

If it is true that the paths of female authority must offer opportunities for educational and infrastructural growth, as indicated in the statements of the Minister Bonetti (STEM education: on the alleged lack of access to STEM see here; tax relief for women's employment, day-care centres) we feel that the proposal for concrete action on the phenomena of neo-patriarchal restoration is lackingsymbolic and material.

Four women killed in the last few hours alone signify a lotta to violence that still does not take off in the instruments of contrast and in the social representations we attribute to it.

The determination with which, even in progressive circles, the already precarious spaces of women's freedom are being eroded is evident and the the value of female difference, female genealogy and the maternal bond with daughters and sons is strongly questioned. 

We cannot ignore the mothers' struggle for torn children, attempts to annul the female difference, to legalise the organised prostitutionto introduce theuterus for rentto propose as a solution to the children the hormone blockers, to obtain free care work by women: these will be our burqa, the rifle to the temple of female freedom. 

In the face of these battles there is a good chance that we will lose if we women continue to chase public spaces that are exclusively male. 

Women from many Italian cities, associations, women in politics and feminism joined the garrisons at the Prefectures in June-July with the "Mothers in revoltThey ask for a closer look at the discussed 'right' to the bigenitoriality, the perverse effects of law 54/2006 and secondary victimisation of mothers who denounce violence and ask for spaces of freedom by protecting their daughter(s). With difficulty emerges the inhumanity of child removal orders to foster homes or abusive fathers, of court costs charged to indigent mothers, and of CTUs (court-appointed technical consultancies) for child custody that become compulsory medical treatment for mothers because of non-existent syndromes - such as parental alienation. Whereas, by contrast, abusive fathers are justified, protected, encouraged.

Violence against mothers and children represents only the tip of the iceberg of a desire to re-subjugate women and reaffirmation of fathers' 'rights'. These areas can no longer be kept separate from political action because they can be historicized with the crisis of equality policies that do not take into account the differences between the sexes.

Bigenitoriality and shared custody were intended to satisfy a ideological parityIt was driven by the expectation that sharing the burden of care was the way to female freedom and male responsibility, and this is what many women still think today. But separated fathers are organised in lobbies decided to abolish the 'privilege' of paternal financial contribution to maintenance, and question the primacy of the maternal bond in the upbringing of children, sanctioned and protected by family law until 1975.

The paradoxical effect has been to divide the children into two, rather than the responsibilities, and even protect the parenting skills of abusers. This has been made possible by the crucial shift from difference to sexual indifference. Neutral disfavours those who are oppressed precisely on the basis of their gender: women. Removed, politically and symbolically, sexual difference cannot produce liberation. The deconstruction of the symbolic value of difference calls politics for a radical and far-sighted reversal.

Women must be assured a public space restored to female freedom to be able to devote themselves, if they wish, to bringing up children with adequate economic support or contractual protection. This means not only crèches, which are now proposed even in the exo-gestation phase.

The whole world of fragility needs to be secured with adequate support modelled on difference. Care, as a paradigm of renewed political visions, risks yet another rhetorical devaluation. if not declined as a concrete strategy. The maternal bonding is also the key to growing and living in an awareness of fragility and interdependence.

So much violence is hurled at mothers because they are the root of human relationships. We have written elsewhere that "the equalitarian dream of the 1970s flattered his daughters by promising them freedom against their mothers, against what they stood for".. Are we ready, today, to recognise the naivety of that thought? If mothers are not free in their difference, they will not be able to raise free daughters. In our social and economic precariousness, we will not be able to welcome other women, nor will we be able to delude them about the advantages of living in the West.

This short circuit has generated the damage of today and we can no longer see such a deadly and destructive presence in action. We call on Minister Bonetti to initiate a debate possible, without opposing models or interpretations: women know how to do this if they want to.

Maria Esposito Siotto- Collettivo Donne In-Curanti (with the contribution of the editorial staff of Feminist Post)

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