Financial TimesFinancial Times

Why Italy’s first woman premier wants to be called ‘Il Presidente’

By Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli

09 Nov 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

Giorgio Meloni may be Italy's first female prime minister, but Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli argues that her political narrative is, in reality, anything but progressive.

At Giorgia Meloni’s first cabinet meeting, the new prime minister sat in the middle of a large round table surrounded by over a dozen middle-aged men. The scene perfectly captured the lingering question among many voters and commentators: has the country’s first female prime minister broken the glass ceiling only for herself?

Meloni’s government has the lowest female representation — six ministers out of 24 — in a decade of Italian politics. While her election represents an important breakthrough in a male-dominated nation, the lack of women in her cabinet, let alone among her inner circle, may be an early insight into her self-consciously masculine leadership style.

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