Female Forward Int.
Empowerment Comes from Education: Tomorrow's Prime Minister

Prime Minister

Team Roma

© Prime Minister

Women on top - Female role models and women empowerment in politics and economy in Southern Europe

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Prime Minister bets on tomorrow’s female leaders. The association invests in training young women to become aware of their abilities and evolve as protagonists in changing and improving their local, national and international communities. Prime Minister believes in the possibility of generating a medium- and long-term impact in terms of gender equality starting from education.

Throughout the project, girls discuss key issues ranging from power to civil rights, STEMs, fake news,  governmental institutions (local, national and European) and political movements. Once per month students meet and discuss with high-level speakers - almost all women: writers, journalists, activists, diplomats, deputies, communicators, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, politicians, councilors, scientists and researchers. The students also take part in team building workshops to develop an active citizenship project together.

The creators of the school are Eva Vittoria Cammerino, Denise Di Dio, Angela Laurenza and Florinda Saieva. Over the years, the team has grown and now is composed of more than 40 volunteers.The project has received support from several entities: Farm Cultural Park and MovimentaGlobal Thinking FoundationIntesa San Paolo FoundationJunior Achievement and Manager Italia. Prime Minister has collaborated with Agenzia Nazionale dei GiovaniAshokaUniversity Federico II di NapoliPolo del '900Save the ChildrenTerre Des HommesIULM UniversityLESS - ETSCO.RE.COM PugliaDonne Si Fa StoriaScostumat*Onde AlteWeb Marketing FestivalRadio ImmaginariaRadio RebelNonna Roma; and Recoview.

Tomorrow’s Prime Minister

Prime Minister was created out of the intention to reduce the gender gap existing in the political, social, and economic fields through female empowerment. Starting in a Sicilian village, Favara (AG), the project has now reached more than 700 Italian girls aged 14-19 in over 10 regions. Prime Minister defines itself as a school of politics, where the word “politics” is taken in its widest interpretation: i.e., the ability to interpret and guide society. Indeed, the girls who attend the school are provided with the necessary tools to analyze reality through critical lenses and to pick up a battle for the betterment of society. The ultimate goal of the training provided by Prime Minister is to facilitate Italy’s young women in becoming engaged citizens, experts, politicians – and to become tomorrow’s Prime Ministers. Such a mission to increase societal equality and achieve gender balance in politics and decision-making spheres is also in line with the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025.

The school’s purpose is achieved through an innovative and inclusive training format that includes one lesson per month over a period of 9 months. Each lesson is structured in two parts:

  • A speech delivered by a high-level guest (in most cases female speakers) on a specific subject (e.g., politics, sustainability, STEM, human rights, business, etc.) from an empowerment perspective, followed by a Q&A session;
  • An interactive workshop for team-building purposes with the aim to develop, with the assistance of Prime Minister tutors, a project of active citizenship.

The realization of a project is a concrete challenge and opportunity to put in practice what has been learnt throughout, while the possibility to meet and question invited speakers who have distinguished themselves in their field is a crucial step in the girls’ quest for role models to help them in the internal shift towards empowerment. Indeed, Prime Minister believes that the way to gain access to places where decisions are made starts from self-awareness and replacing stereotypes and insecurities with inspiration. (The school’s speakers are mostly women to give enough room for representation, but men are featured too, in as much as female-male partnerships are pivotal for gender equality.)

The young women’s path of female empowerment continues after school. Very often, students who complete an annual edition of Prime Minister are encouraged to join the association and collaborate in the realization of subsequent editions. In short, once a “Primer”, always a Primer. This allows new enrollees to benefit from other girls’ guidance, thus enriching their educational experience, but also increases diversity across the volunteers, who are aged from 18 to 50 years old.

Our training session lasts 9 months and explores girls empowerment from different moduli/forms:

1. Becoming an activist: The fight of one woman is the fight of all women.

2. Becoming an ambientalist: Green, sustainable and resilient.  

3. Becoming inclusive: I refuse every kind of discrimination

4. Becoming a woman: Education on consent, culture against violence

5. Becoming aware: Once I know myself and I will know the world

6. Becoming supportive

7. Becoming brave: STEM friendly, no woman should be a step behind

8. Becoming Prime Minister: My ideas are worth it. I present them to the world

9. Graduation day

These are the actions undertaken by two of our Prime Minister alumnus:

Giusy, 16 years old - Sensitive to the climate change issues, she created/aggregated a group of student activists in her high school in Favara, opening a dialogue with the Vice Principal for the separate collection and recycling of school garbage.

Giulia, 15 years old - Deeply inspired by the theme of animal protection, began her journey as an activist by participating in an action by the Greens in Gela against the mistreatment of circus animals.

(On June 19th our students attended the event of, who organised a sustainable fashion show in Rome’s city hall square.)

Space for Improvement

Prime Minister exists in Italy because of the current unequal gender situation in our country.

  • Italy ranks 13th in the female ministers’ European ranking, and below the European average of 30.40%;
  • On average, since 1976, women have represented only 10% of Italian ministers;
  • With regards to regional-level governments, at the time of writing there is only 1 female governor out of 20;
  • No woman has ever been elected Prime Minister or President of the Republic since the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946.

As far as the economic sphere is concerned, the data resulting from gender inequality are also worrying. The gender pay gap in Italy - which has been growing again in the last 12 months, due to the Covid-19 pandemic - is on average 11.1%, which means that a woman earns on average 3,000 euros less than her male counterpart does. According to the International Monetary Fund, reducing the gender gap in the labor sector, will lead to a 35% GDP growth. However, aside from the economic considerations, such conditions have repercussions in all spheres of society including politics, in as much as too many women are relegated to subalternate roles within their families and lack the chance to undertake independent careers.

Another critical aspect concerning women’s participation to the political sphere - one that is equally worrying albeit more complex to measure statistically - is the amount of hostile acts, verbal abuse, inappropriate scrutiny that female politicians at all levels are confronted with on a daily basis. Evidently, this reflects the country’s wider cultural context, still imbued with sexism and misogyny. An additional proof that a deep, cultural shift has yet to occur was the rejection of a law in October 2021, that would have elevated misogyny (alongside other discriminations based on gender, sexual orientation and disability) to ‘hate crimes’. In this setting, it comes as no surprise that a great portion of the few women who attain prestigious roles in decision-making positions often do not represent the progressive area of political forces, but rather those, which comply the most with the current value system.

Eva Vittoria Cammerino, Counselor of the V Municipality in Rome and Cofounder and Executive Director Prime Minister, School of Politics for young women in Italy