Minister Fabiana Dadone interviews Reynor, the StarCraft 2 world champion

Minister Fabiana Dadone interviews Reynor, the StarCraft 2 world champion

Minister Fabiana Dadone interviews Reynor

A minister on Twitch? This is no joke, on Sunday 7 March Fabiana Didone (minister for youth policies) inaugurated her channel by interviewing Reynor, the very young StarCraft 2 world champion, an all-Italian pride of the eSport scene and more.

A very interesting chat (which you can see in the Twitch player below) during which various topics were touched, from the daily training of a pro player to the relationship with the school, passing through the competitive video game and other related issues to the world of video games and young people in general.

Dadone asked the two questions (and listened to Reynor's answers) with extreme sincerity and curiosity, also underlining the importance of eSports for the growth of guys and pointing out how "the competitive scene deserves more attention", promising to return to the topic and work to improve the public perception of video games and eSports in general.

A certainly constructive interview, a new step forward towards a phenomenon that is increasingly difficult to ignore, in this case treated without any prejudice whatsoever but with competence and showing interest in the future of the discipline and of all young Italians who have approached eSport in recent years, some for pure fun and some with the aim of giving life to a lasting career.

Mario Draghi’s boys’ club: Italy’s new government sidelines women, again

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Giulia Blasi is a writer and activist based in Rome, and the author of the feminist primer “Manuale per ragazze rivoluzionarie” (Rizzoli, 2018) and “Rivoluzione Z” (Rizzoli, 2020). 

ROME — Before Mario Draghi’s government was announced, the push for gender equality in Italian politics seemed to be gaining momentum. Today, the effort appears to have stalled. Out of 24 ministers in the prime minister’s Cabinet, only eight will be women — five of them without “a portfolio,” meaning they don’t have a budget of their own, and so won’t have much say in how the money coming in from the EU’s coronavirus recovery fund is spent. 

This is a problem because Italy has long-standing but largely unacknowledged deficiencies in gender equality. Not only are women underrepresented in the political sphere, they face unequal treatment at work and a social safety net that forces many to stay home to take care of children or the elderly. The problem has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic: More than twice as many women lost their jobs in 2020 as men — 312,000 women in total, compared with 132,000 men, according to the national statistics bureau. One would think that numbers like these would make a strong case for providing women with a greater presence in key roles. Apparently not. 

Draghi can’t pretend that nobody was making the case for greater representation. Even before Matteo Renzi opened the door for the former European Central Bank chief by bringing down the government, women’s associations had been campaigning for months for a better distribution of the EU’s recovery money, with an eye to getting women to join, or rejoin, the workforce.  

Initiatives like Half of It, launched by the German Green MEP Alexandra Geese, and its Italian offspring Il Giusto Mezzo (an initiative I have been marginally involved with on a personal level), are specifically aimed at making sure that women (who make up roughly half of the population in most countries) get to benefit from half of the money coming from the EU.

Donne per la Salvezza (“Women to the Rescue”), an operation that includes more than 40 women’s associations, including Il Giusto Mezzo, spent weeks compiling a detailed proposal, advocating for increased childcare services, efforts to address the wage gap, compulsory paid paternity leave, the prevention of domestic violence and the promotion of girls in STEM studies.  

The group also called for equal representation for women at all levels of government and a split between the Ministry for Equal Opportunities and the Ministry for the Family, so that women’s issues do not get lumped in with — and limited to — their perceived essential function within the family.  

Neither proposal was taken into account. Not only is Elena Bonetti, the outgoing minister for equal opportunities and the family, back at her desk, title intact, but the women in Draghi’s government have for the most part been relegated to holding a few, relatively unimportant roles. 

What really stings, however, is that it’s the Italian left that has mostly failed to deliver.

Neither the center-left Democratic Party (PD) nor the left-wing Free and Equal party appears to have put forward any female nominees who were able to secure a top job. Of the eight women in Draghi’s Cabinet, three come from right-wing parties (the far-right League and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia). Bonetti belongs to Renzi’s liberal Italia Viva party, and Luciana Lamorgese was appointed minister of interior affairs by Giuseppe Conte in his second run as prime minister and has made barely any changes to her predecessors’ xenophobic immigration policies. 

The three newcomers include Marta Cartabia, the ultra-conservative former head of the Constitutional Court; Fabiana Dadone, a member of the 5Star Movement who was minister of public administration under Conte; and Maria Cristina Messa, a doctor and academic who has been put in charge of universities and research.

Sadly, none of this is new. The Italian left’s patchy (to say the least) record with gender equality has been an issue for years. The Democratic Party, after all, is descended from the notoriously misogynistic communist party, in which even key political figures such as Nilde Iotti and Teresa Noce paid a steep price for their comrades’ sexism. In an interview with La Repubblica, Marisa Rodano, a former member of the Communist party who fought in the resistance, didn’t hold back: “For a very long time, men believed that women were better suited with dealing with specific issues, related to childcare and family … They’re not afraid. They’re just convinced it’s their birthright.” Today’s left is no less patriarchal and paternalistic — it’s just a lot more shameless with its pinkwashing.  

Before Draghi’s appointment as prime minister, the Democratic Party had been trumpeting a “Women New Deal.” (In Italian politics, fancy English names are a good sign of a complete lack of substance.) Today, the PD’s four ministerial posts have all gone to men. The women of the party are angry. The question is how far their anger will go.  

Across the world, women are rising up in strong and sustained political action. Polish women have taken to the streets to defend their right to terminate a pregnancy in a safe and legal way. In Argentina, the pro-choice movement has just obtained its first major victory. In Belarus, women protesters are at the forefront of a political revolution.  

Italy’s female politicians have an opportunity to trigger a wave of protests with an eye to systemic change that could go well beyond ensuring women are given key roles. Instead, they are dithering, putting out a stream of cautious political proclamations. The Democratic Party’s president, Valentina Cuppi, has barely weighed in on the issue. As things stand, the Democratic leadership is very likely to get away with this egregious sexism. 

The reason for the caution is disappointing. Nicola Zingaretti, the party’s secretary and thus its real head, has promised to try to catch up, with an all-female selection for the numerous other roles in government to be doled out in the coming weeks. While some of the party’s younger members are calling for a true reckoning, senior women are faced with a hard choice: take what they know is a consolation prize and fall in line, or break ranks, reject the offer and walk out en masse.  

Putting up a fight may be daunting, but it has the potential to pay off in the long run. If the Democratic Party — and the Italian left more generally — wants to have a future with young voters, it needs to set the foundation for true female leadership. The alternative is to keep playing by the same old rules, with the same old men, in what looks increasingly less like a party and more and more like a hostage situation. 

CORRECTION: This article was updated to correct the relationship between the organizations Donne per la Salvezza and Il Giusto Mezzo.