Rome

Equal opportunity minister expresses solidarity for Speaker

Vows to meet Boldrini on anti-violence measures for women

Equal opportunity minister expresses solidarity for Speaker

Rome, May 3 - Italian equal opportunity minister vowed to make violence against women a political priority for the Italian parliament after avalanche of internet threats against Italy's female House Speaker come to light. "I read with dismay and indignation what has happened to House Speak Laura Boldrini, and I increasingly realize how delicate the role is with which I have been entrusted," commented Josefa Idem, the ex-Olympic canoeing gold medalist appointed last Sunday as minister of equal opportunity, sports and youth policy in the new government led by Premier Enrico Letta. Boldrini said on Thursday that hundreds, perhaps thousands of threats - including death and rape - had mobbed her via the internet since she was elected speaker in recent weeks, including graphic photo-shopped images of her face over graphic, grotesque victim images. "Hundreds of men, vile and without dignity, consider it normal to insult and threaten a woman for her own opinions - indeed, probably just for the fact that a woman dared to express ideas - are a sign of a subculture that must be uprooted in this country," Idem continued. Idem expressed her full "solidarity and support" for Boldrini, as well as plans "to meet soon" with her to place "violence against women" among "priority items for the political agenda of this parliament, starting with the ratification of the Istanbul Convention". The Istanbul Convention is the 2011 Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

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