Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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Hundreds of thousands of Italian women have lost their jobs

The road to work is imprinted forever within Roberta. But she runs it without goals and meaning, just to show us where she had her shop. We drive through Piove di Sacco, a small town near Padua, in northern Italy. Here, as in the whole country, the covid crisis has hit the economy enormously hard. And the Italian women have been hit the hardest. Even before the crisis, the labor market was unequal. Now the situation is desperate for many.

– The wedding sector is a typical example of a very female sector that has been hit extremely hard, around 90 percent of all revenues disappeared in one fell swoop. No one is getting married as the situation is now, says Serena Ranieri.

“I have lost everything”

She is the chairman of Federmep, which organizes the country’s wedding entrepreneurs. Everyone, from dressmakers like Roberta Zerbetto, to florists, makeup artists, hairdressers, caterers and many more, have lost their income.

– This will affect the already disadvantaged female work situation for many years to come, says Serena Ranieri.

In Salerno in southern Italy, wedding stylist Francesca Ragone is struggling not to have to shut down her business.

– I’ve lost everything. Every day I open the doors to my salon, to try to move on. But it is difficult, very difficult, she says.

Nearly 450,000 jobs lost

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According to the Italian statistics agency Istat, 444,000 jobs disappeared last year. Of these, 312,000 were women’s jobs, or as much as 70 percent. December stands for the gloomiest statistics as the major closures during Christmas and New Year led to people shopping less and not being able to travel and celebrate the weekends at a hotel or restaurant. According to Istat, 101,000 jobs then disappeared and 99,000 of them were women’s jobs – 98%.

The hardest hit sectors in the country are the restaurant industry, the hotel industry and tourism. In addition to the already hard-fought female small business owners who are now forced to close and lay off their female staff, cleaning ladies, waitresses and certain types of hotel staff are hit very hard – all distinctly female jobs in Italy.

Roberta Zerbetto is now unemployed but still wanted to be generous in these difficult times.

– I have donated all my unsold wedding dresses to future brides who are short of money. I hope they enjoy them.

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