Gender Parity and Quotas in Italy: A Convoluted Reform Process

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Strathclyde]On: 09 October 2014, At: 09:47Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK</p><p>West European PoliticsPublication details, including instructions for authorsand subscription information:</p><p>Gender Parity and Quotas inItaly: A Convoluted ReformProcessElisabetta Palici di SuniPublished online: 27 Feb 2012.</p><p>To cite this article: Elisabetta Palici di Suni (2012) Gender Parity and Quotas inItaly: A Convoluted Reform Process, West European Politics, 35:2, 380-394, DOI:10.1080/01402382.2011.648013</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all theinformation (the Content) contained in the publications on our platform.However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, orsuitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressedin this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not theviews of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content shouldnot be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions,claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilitieswhatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connectionwith, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly</p><p></p></li><li><p>forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f St</p><p>rath</p><p>clyd</p><p>e] a</p><p>t 09:</p><p>47 0</p><p>9 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p><p></p></li><li><p>Gender Parity and Quotas in Italy:A Convoluted Reform Process</p><p>ELISABETTA PALICI DI SUNI</p><p>In 1995, two years after the adoption of gender quota laws, the Italian ConstitutionalCourt declared these laws to be unconstitutional. The Constitution was subsequentlyreformed in order to make way for new quota legislation. Such reforms came in late andin a contradictory way. The Constitution was first modified in 2001 to allow regions toadopt quota measures to enhance womens political representation at the regional leveland then in 2003 to allow similar measures to enhance womens political representationat the national and European levels. Thus far, quotas have been introduced only in someregions and for European elections. Consequently, the 2001 and 2003 constitutionalreforms have had a limited impact on legislative implementation measures and thus onthe percentage of women in elected assemblies.</p><p>Less than one year after their formal enfranchisement in 1945, the firstwomen elected to the 19461947 Constituent Assembly promoted theinsertion of some very innovative provisions on womens rights into theItalian Constitution. Nevertheless, these constitutional provisions wereeither not enforced or enforced with much delay. Given the original wordingof the 1948 Constitution, Italy could have launched quota reforms withoutthe need for other ad hoc constitutional provisions. However, theParliament and the Constitutional Courts narrow interpretation of therelevant constitutional provisions prevented Italy from spearheading suchreforms. Instead, Italy ended up tackling quota legislation not only laterthan other European countries, but also in quite a contradictory andambivalent manner.</p><p>To date, most of the literature on Italys quota reforms, constitutionalamendments, and national and regional legislation tends to be in Italian,1</p><p>with the exception of Della Portas (2003) and Guadagninis (2005; 2007)writings on the political debates surrounding these reforms. This article aimsat clarifying the political and, above all, legal aspects of the Italian reforms,</p><p>Correspondence Address:</p><p>West European Politics,Vol. 35, No. 2, 380394, March 2012</p><p>ISSN 0140-2382 Print/1743-9655 Online 2012 Taylor &amp; Francis</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f St</p><p>rath</p><p>clyd</p><p>e] a</p><p>t 09:</p><p>47 0</p><p>9 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>which are not very well-known among Anglo-Saxon researchers, andcomparing them with those of other countries that appear similar on thesurface, but where deep differences can also be found. In particular, thearticle focuses on the legal meaning of the constitutional and legislativereforms as well as the respective interpretations of the courts and policy-makers, who have to promote and pass legislation to bring aboutconstitutional provisions. In the end, the main argument advanced here isthat: (a) Italys reforms on gender parity are legally contradictory; (b) thiscontradiction is due to parties lack of political will; (c) as a consequence,Italys path to quota reforms has been quite convoluted.</p><p>From Suffragism to the Constitution</p><p>Italian suffragism began several decades before Italian women obtained theright to vote. For the first time in 1877 and then again in 1906, together withother women, Anna Maria Mozzoni presented a womens suffrage petitionto Parliament. In 1906, Maria Montessori invited all women to register tovote because the electoral law did not expressly forbid it. Except for theCourt of Appeal of Ancona, all Courts of Appeal and the Corte diCassazione2 denied that women had this right.3 Several bills to extend theright to vote to women, including the Minghetti bill (1861), the Peruzzi bill(1863), and the Morelli bill (1867), had been introduced in the first years ofthe Kingdom of Italy. However, none of these were passed. In 1912, as thelaw enfranchising all men was adopted, some MPs pointed out thecontradiction of allowing ignorant men to vote and prohibiting learnedwomen from doing so.4 The 1925 law that recognised womens right to votein administrative elections quickly became irrelevant when the fascist regimeabolished all elections. Following the demise of the fascist regime, decreeNo. 23 of 1945 provided for only womens right to vote. The rights ofsuffrage and eligibility were recognised by decree No. 74 of 1946 regardingthe elections of the Constituent Assembly. By that time, womensenfranchisement was perceived as part of the natural evolution of societyrather than the outcome of suffrage activists efforts (Galoppini 1980: 143).Nonetheless, many people feared the prospect of the womens vote,including Communist Party activists who blamed women for the electoraldefeat of the Left in 1946 and 1948 (Rossi-Doria 1996: 257).</p><p>In 1946, 21 women were elected to the Constituent Assembly (3.7 percent) (Morelli 2007). These women played a fundamental role in theformulation of innovative constitutional rules on equality and womensrights. As a result, the Italian Constitution ensures both the protection ofmotherhood and also equality between men and women. Traditional laws toprotect working mothers had been in place since the 1902 law No. 242,modified by the 1910 law No. 520 and by the 1934 law No. 1347. Muchmore innovative were the equality provisions, which some deputies founddifficult to accept. In particular, equality in the judiciary met with much</p><p>Gender Parity and Quotas in Italy 381</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f St</p><p>rath</p><p>clyd</p><p>e] a</p><p>t 09:</p><p>47 0</p><p>9 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>resistance, with some observing that women were not cut out to becomejudges.5 Nonetheless, the women deputies were able to insert a balancebetween protection and equality into the Constitution.</p><p>Since Italys new Constitution came into force in 1948, Italian legislatorshave been much more committed to ensure the effective protection ofwomen at the expense of equality. For instance, new laws to protect workingmothers were passed in 1950 and thereafter (the 1950 law No. 860 and thenthe 1971 law No. 1204), but provisions on equality were not enforced for along time. While Article 51 prescribes that all citizens of either sex areeligible for public office on equal terms, women have been able to becomejudges only since 1963. Although Article 29 asserts the moral and legalequality of spouses, only in 1975 was the provision of the civil codeestablishing the husband as the head of the family repealed. Article 37 statesthat working women shall have the same rights and, for the same work, thesame wages as working men, but only in 1977 was a statute passed ensuringequal pay. In short, the innovative spirit of the Constituent Assembly,together with the pluralism and the mutual respect that prevailed among allthe parties that had taken part in the Italian Resistance to fascism, came toan end once the Constituent Assembly completed its work.</p><p>Electoral Law and Quotas</p><p>From 1948 until 1990, the Democratic Christian Party governed Italy withsmaller parties due to the unwritten agreement (conventio ad excludendum)which excluded the Communist Party, Italys second largest party, fromgoverning coalitions. In the early 1990s, following the fall of the SovietUnion and Tangentopoli, the investigation that uncovered many instances ofpolitical corruption, public opinion began to favour more alternation ingovernment, as in the other European countries. The only way to ensurealternation and put an end to both corruption and the political status quoappeared to be through a new electoral law.</p><p>After many years of proportional representation (PR), political partieswere not able to reform the electoral law. Due to the opposing interests ofsmall and large parties from both the majority and the opposition,agreement was extremely difficult to reach. The only solution was to holda referendum. According to Article 75 of the Italian Constitution, areferendum must be requested by 500,000 electors or five regions. Theoutcome of the 1993 referendum was quite clear: out of the 77 per cent ofeligible Italian voters who cast a ballot, 82.7 per cent voted in favour of theplurality system. Following the referendum, the electoral law provided for amixed system: three-quarters of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies andSenate were to be elected according to the plurality system, and one-quarteraccording to the PR system.</p><p>Women MPs, such as Christian Democrat and President of the EqualOpportunities Commission6 Tina Anselmi and Livia Turco from the</p><p>382 E. Palici di Suni</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f St</p><p>rath</p><p>clyd</p><p>e] a</p><p>t 09:</p><p>47 0</p><p>9 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>Democratic Party of the Left, observed that the new electoral law couldactually reduce womens representation (Guadagnini 2005: 140). Indeed,since there were already so few women in Parliament with the straight PRsystem, there would most likely be even fewer with the new quasi-pluralitysystem. Therefore, all new electoral laws at the national, regional, and locallevels introduced measures to ensure more gender balance, at least for theseats elected according to PR. While some laws required the alternation ofmen and women candidates on every list, others required lists to have nomore than two-thirds of the candidates of the same sex. The laws passedeasily in part because everybody expected the Constitutional Court to strikethem down (Guadagnini 2005: 1412).</p><p>Unsurprisingly, the Constitutional Court did declare all these measures tobe unconstitutional in judgment No. 422/1995 of 12 September 1995,thereby confirming the fundamental role of the courts in the implementationof gender quotas (Baldez 2004: 234, 2446). In the Courts view, Article 51of the Constitution, which provides for womens and mens equal access topublic and elective offices,7 had an absolute value, meaning that equality didnot allow any gender considerations or differentiation in politics.8</p><p>It is interesting to look at this judgment in the light of the four models ofpolitical citizenship (liberal, republican, corporatistconsociational, andhybrid) identified in relation to gender quotas (Krook et al. 2009). Inparticular, the republican citizenship model embodies a philosophicalcommitment to universalism, where the political representation takes intoaccount only the interests of the universal citizen, who exists above andbeyond any particularistic group-based concerns. Consequently, countriesbelonging to this model do not usually provide for quotas. On the contrary,the corporatistconsociational citizenship model is grounded in socialpartnership and consensus. As a result, in this model, quota policies tend tobe favoured so as to promote group-based identities and interests (Krooket al. 2009: 78990).</p><p>What is particularly worth noting is that Krook et al. (2009: 792, 798)generally consider Italy to belong to the corporatistconsociational citizen-ship model. Nonetheless, in judgment No. 422/1995, the Italian Constitu-tional Court did not adopt a corporatistconsociational model of citizenshipand political representation: instead, it emphasised the political right ofevery citizen as an absolute right that cannot be limited in favour of citizensfrom a disadvantaged group, thus following a republican citizenship model.</p><p>In judgment No. 109/1993 of 26 March 1993, the Constitutional Courthad previously ruled that affirmative action in the economic and social fieldswas constitutional. In judgment No. 422/1995, the Court specified thataffirmative action and special measures were admissible in the economicrealm, but not in the political realm. The Courts opinion reflected thedoctrine of the double meaning of the equality principle, with Article 3.1prescribing formal9 equality and Article 3.2 prescribing substantive10</p><p>equality. Following that doctrine, substantive equality should be an</p><p>Gender Parity and Quotas in Italy 383</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f St</p><p>rath</p><p>clyd</p><p>e] a</p><p>t 09:</p><p>47 0</p><p>9 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>exception to formal equality, from which, as a general rule, the legislaturecould not derogate with regard to political representation. Nevertheless, inkeeping with another, more convincing doctrine, substantive equalityconfirms and strengthens formal equality, thus making the equality principleone and only one (Caravita 1984; Cerri 1976; DAloja 2002: 26974;Gianformaggio 1993; Mortati 1976: 10313; Pollicino 2005: 21924).</p><p>It is also important to point out that Article 51 was not always intended insuch an absolute manner. Until 1963, women could not take the judgeshipexam because only men could be candidates, as per a 1941 ordinance andnotwithstanding Article 51 of the Constitution. Only the law No. 67/1963 of9 February 1963...</p></li></ul>