Natalie Cleland and Jackie Gillum of Prof. Antonella Valoroso’s course on Contemporary Italy, conducted their final project on The Young Italian Woman: Her Changing Hopes and Dreams. Their project involved interviewing 3 classes of soon-to-graduate young Italian women from the local Linguistico “A. Pieralli” High School in Perugia. Rai News then invited Prof. Valoroso to speak about the project’s results during their prime-time morning news segment, as Umbra students finished their final exams last week.
What was the goal of the project?
The goal was to understand the Italian women paradox, how it is possible that Italian women are simultaneously among the most educated on the planet but among the least employed. Natalie and Jackie, in their research proposal, stated:
“We want to study the lives of young Italian women of 18 to 24 years of age. Our goal is to understand what success means to them, and what their professional and personal life objectives are. In particular, we would like to try to understand if and how their life plan distances and differentiates itself from that of their mothers. In this way, we will be able to compare Italian women from both generations, and we can try to understand if the Italian social fabric and the gender dynamics within, are changing, blocked, or obstructed.”
Click here to view the survey that was used.
Prof. Valoroso shared the research results on the RAI, as well as in an article written for Corriere della Sera’s 27esima Ora. She explained that what seemed to surprise Natalie and Jackie the most was that each interviewed Italian student agreed that her mother represented a fundamental point of reference in her life, both as a model example to follow and as one which needs to be outdone. Some young Italians described problems with their mothers, but almost all of them described their mother using words like strong/forte. The overwhelming consensus was that a mother was a friend, through the good and the bad.
Of the Italians interviewed, only one’s mother is not employed, all others shared that their mothers had at least a part-time job. 81% of those interviewed shared that they wanted to have children, while only 45% expressed a desire to get married; nearly all shared that they wanted to continue their studies after graduation. 45% of these young ladies believe that, in order to succeed in the work force, it is necessary to make sacrifices in one’s personal life.
The project’s conclusion proposed that millennial women, when compared to their mothers, display a stronger desire to build a professional career without sacrificing their lives as women, companions, and mothers. “They are too wise to want it all. If anything, they want something more and something different from that which yesterday’s women wanted and achieved,” concluded Antonella in her article for the 27esima ora.
Watch the interview on the RAI: