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In the name of equality. In the name of Equality. Women and Work in the Italian Constituent Phase

Rotondi Claudia, Catholic University, Milan

Among the 556 members elected to the Italian Constituent Assembly in June 1946, 21 were women, differing in age, experience, ideals and political ethos. In that institutional context, this ‘group’ felt the weight of their responsibility and took the initiative to voice a united opinion - in the name of equal opportunities – in this new era for Italy on a number of crucial issues: education, family, employment and politics. This paper aims to reconstruct and analyse the contribution of these women on the matter of equal employment opportunities. In particular, we look at how they contributed to shaping the Constitution of the Italian Republic through the definition of Articles 3 (equal social dignity for citizens), 37 (equal rights to employment and wages) and 51 (equal access to careers). The main sources of the research are the Acts of the Constituent Assembly, the so-called 'Archives of Constitutional Transition', the documentation relating to the activities carried out in that period by CGIL (Italian General Confederation of Labour) in its unified phase. Indeed, this trade union was an important forum for debate and in some cases for the training of the leading female protagonists in the discussions at the Constituent Assembly, as well as the place where the women, who contributed to writing the Constitution, developed their views. The research aims to bring out not only the similarities but also the differences that characterise the economic and political culture of these women and guide their actions.

Area: Eshet Conference

Keywords: Constitution and women's labor rights; Women and equal pay; Economic and social culture for women's work

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