A piece in today’s Times about a very silly Italian woman:
Italy’s annual television song contest picked a winner this weekend, but also provoked a thorny national debate: should the woman directing the orchestra be called a conductor or a conductress?
Beatrice Venezi appeared as a guest host at the Sanremo festival, but stole the limelight from performers and offended gender rights champions by declaring that she wanted to be announced as a direttore, the masculine title for conductor in Italian, rather than the female term direttrice.
One of Italy’s very few female conductors, Venezi, 31, was snubbing a national trend towards equality by feminising senior job titles, with sindaco becoming sindaca for women mayors and ministro becoming ministra for female ministers.
“If the object is to have equal rights, what is the sense of underlining a gender difference and keeping divisions intact, leading to further inequality?” she said.
She was quickly challenged by Chiara Appendino, 36, the first female mayor of Turin, who proudly calls herself sindaca. “If a young girl grows up hearing that some jobs have an exclusively male linguistic connotation, she will think that it’s an exception if a woman does those jobs. And that is a huge damage we are doing to future generations,” she said.
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