Giorgia Meloni’s Win Is a Step Backward for Women

On Sunday, Sept. 25, Italian citizens elected Giorgia Meloni from the Brothers of Italy party to become the next prime minister of the country.
(Courtesy of Twitter)

On Sunday, Sept. 25, Italian citizens elected Giorgia Meloni from the Brothers of Italy party to become the next prime minister of the country. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Giorgia Meloni’s victory in the race for the Prime Minister of Italy is alarming for not just Italian citizens, but people around the world. With similar policy viewpoints to Trump, Meloni, the country’s first female prime minister, actively speaks out against women’s issues and other minority issues, such as LGBTQ+ issues. Meloni is a white conservative leader who will use her gender to further her political agenda, but in the process, will oppress women and other minorities. 

On Sunday, Sept. 25, Italian citizens elected Meloni from the Brothers of Italy party to become the next prime minister of the country. She is the first far-right prime minister since Benito Mussolini’s rule. She had a notable lead in the race, with 26% of the vote, a much larger share compared to any other party representative. The new Italian Parliament will form in the upcoming weeks.

Born in Rome, Meloni has been politically active her entire life, joining the youth wing of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement party when she was just 15 years old. She co-founded the Brothers of Italy party in 2012 and has led the Brothers of Italy party since 2014. As a politician, Meloni is admired for her confidence, as she speaks with pride as a woman in a male-dominated government. She even ran for mayor while seven months pregnant, in which she said, “I am a woman. I am a mother.”

The Brothers of Italy, or “Fratelli d’Italia,” are a conservative and right-wing populist party, notorious for their fascist and far-right wing perspectives and policies. Their ideologies include national conservatism, nativism, Euroskepticism and opposition to immigration. 

Meloni is implementing those ideologies in her political agenda. In the past couple of weeks, she has been actively speaking out against immigration and the European Union and calling for more family friendly benefits and low taxes for Italians.

One of the most harrowing aspects of Meloni’s agenda is her stance on immigration. In a country where 1 out of 10 people are born abroad, her anti-immigration opinions are worrisome. 

Even more shocking, Meloni’s party is against same-sex marriage. The New York Times reports that Meloni “is not going to alter existing civil rights, but that what is best for a child is to have both a mother and a father.”

It is interesting that Meloni calls for heteronormativity when she claims to promote unity of all Italians. In her victory speech in late September, she said, “if we will be called to govern this country, we will do it for all Italians; for everybody, with the goal of uniting this people, of stressing what unites rather than what divides.” Meloni’s call for unity is especially ignorant given her divisive and polarizing political agenda. 

The idea of unity is similar to a focus on inclusion, and being the first woman leader of a powerful country can look like “inclusion” to the naked eye. However, once we analyze her political opinions, her party and her political background, it is clear that just because Meloni is a woman does not mean she stands for all women. We can observe this phenomenon with other women leaders around the globe. 

Former Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, who is known for being liberal, voted against same-sex marriage in 2017 for Germany, even stating: “For me, personally, marriage is a man and a woman living together.” Merkel had consistently aligned herself with the “liberal West,” yet still displayed quite traditional, outdated social views. 

Even in the U.S., Vice President Kamala Harris was praised for becoming the first woman to become vice president. This was a celebration of inclusion and triumph for diversity, as Harris is a Black and Indian woman. However, when fully understanding her politics and her history as Attorney General of California and Senator of California until 2021, many have brought awareness to the fact that she is often contradictory in her beliefs and her past actions, having defended mass incarceration and kept more people in jail for longer amounts of time. Harris has promoted programs to help keep people out of jail, but her history and background are still relevant to understanding her views and political standpoint. 

While all of these women are monumental figures and represent political inclusion, it does not mean they are fighting for women’s issues and furthering a liberal agenda. In cases like Meloni’s and Merkel’s, this contradiction stems from white feminism and how it affects politics, with women leaders solely seeking to “include” and represent white, heterosexual, cisgender women.

However, it is important to note that Meloni’s politics are much further right than Merkel and Harris. Her politics have been compared to former President Donald Trump and controversial Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.

In the past, Meloni has consistently been homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic and racist in her actions and rhetoric. It is unfair to group her with Merkel and Harris solely because they are all women, but it is important to note that even leaders with diverse backgrounds can still promote policies that negatively impact their own demographic. 

Meloni is extremely dangerous for the future of Italy, and her party represents a great political shift that could occur in all of Europe. It will be important to watch Spain in its upcoming elections, for example. 

Meloni’s rule is worrisome for Italians of all different backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, etc. If she is so passionate about “unity” in her country, my hope is that she will not vote for any policies that go against freedom of expression and identity. 

Ally Dugan, FCRH ’23, is a communications and culture major from West Chester, Penn.