Saving the World by Paola Diana was published by Quartet Books on 2 May 2018.
Today I have an extract from the book to share with you.
The global socio-economic outlook
The status of women is a complicated subject, always avoided
rather than addressed. Even philosophers like Aristotle and
Plato never debated the issue. Even during the Renaissance,
the rebirth of art and learning, women did not benefit from
any change arising from the revision of thought.
Historically, women have been denied the right to
education and, as a consequence, the right to most
work. The daughters of the wealthier social classes could
become respectable wives or nuns. Less fortunate girls
were relegated to the most menial tasks, performed in
inhuman conditions, or were forced to join the ranks of
women who did the oldest and most degrading job in
the world – prostitution. In the past, a woman was seen
only in terms of her ability to procreate, to be devoted
to the house with all that this implies. She was denied
any form of expression, any access to art and culture. The
segregation that women have undergone over the centuries
has inflicted a deep wound on the whole of humanity
and their exclusion from public life represents a missed
opportunity for greater progress in every field.
One instance of a woman surmounting these obstacles is
the case of Artemisia Gentileschi, daughter and student of
the painter Orazio Gentileschi. She was raped by Agostino
Tassi, a close friend of her father’s. The trial that followed
was terribly unfair: to confirm the reliability of the charge
of rape, Artemisia was tortured. It took several months
before the girl was able to paint again. Nevertheless, the
drama and the anger she experienced became an integral
part of her style, making her one of the most respected
and renowned artists of the seventeenth century.
Today we live in a time of change in which freedom and
love have become the keystones of a better future. A new,
more just and peaceful, civilization is possible; though,
for that to happen, we must put an end to the hegemony
of men, to their rule and to the patriarchal culture that
perpetuates it. First of all, we need to acknowledge the
extent of it and talk about it, looking reality in the face. A
profound and reasoned change is not possible without an
objective analysis of this subject.
The status of women is a global issue; it touches every
human being without exception. How is it possible that
countries where women have achieved political, economic
and social rights after exhausting struggles remain
seemingly indifferent to the egregiousness of other nations
where the plight of women is still tragic? The time has
come to take a leap and help those left behind. Why this
indifference? The lack of interest stems from two important
and connected factors: public opinion with regard to the
status of women is not strong enough to force lawmakers
to fight for their rights, at home or abroad; and there are
not enough women in political and economic leadership
roles to act as standard-bearers for the campaign of reform.
About the Book
Part manifesto for change part historical and sociological essay, Saving the World charts women’s condition through the centuries, analysing their treatment within political, religious, economic and societal contexts to form a bigger picture of their place in the world; and explores what needs to be done in 2018 to create a truly equal world. Having already broken the glass ceiling for women in Italy, where she introduced a new bill requiring company boards to have 30% female representation, Paola turns to the Gender Pay Gap and puts forward her vision for how we reach an equal society, one in which all women are set free from fear, violence and oppression. Paola Diana impresses on us that this world we inhabit, dominated by men and often seemingly immutable, is far from the only one possible.
Already a bestseller in Italy, this translation has been extensively revised by the author to incorporate recent UK events that impinge on women’s rights and the struggle to achieve equality. A clarion call for change, Diana’s polemic should be read by all who hold powerful positions in government, industry and the arts.
About the Author
A top ten bestselling author and political activist in Italy, Paola Diana is a mouthpiece for female equality in a country that has some of the worst work place equality in the world ranking 118th out of 144 countries in terms of women’s participation in economic life and 126th for wage equality for similar work according to the 2017 Global Gender Gap Index, with Italy lagging behind India and Iran in wage equality.
A London based entrepreneur and campaigner for equal rights Paola has dedicated her life to championing sexual equality in business and politics in the UK and Italy. In Italy, Paola is the founder of the organisation PariMerito (Equal Merit), which she used to lobby the Italian Government to pass new equality laws in the work place, including a new bill requiring every company board to have minimum 30% female representation.
Prior to starting PariMerito Paola ran a Think Tank in support of the former Prime Minister and President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi’s political campaign, which had a particular focus on issues including welfare, female employment and structural policies in favour of the family and equal opportunities.
Paola is also an entrepreneur starting her first business as a single mother of two, her hugely successful Diana Group, comprises three separate businesses and has established itself as a market leader in recruitment and lifestyle services, recognised as one of London’s most influential service providers for high net worth individuals, families and corporations around the world.
One Comment Add yours
Sounds fascinating and essential – in the late 1970s/early 1980s the feminist groups I was in were very concerned about the status of our sisters all around the world, but I don’t know if that feeling is so strong nowadays.