Okay, this simply can't go unblogged! I almost choked on my coffee this morning, as I read an editorial in the Financial Times of London quoting Italy's incoming Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's musings about the shortage of Italian women qualified to hold office.
I would suggest HE isn't fit to hold office -- which was actually the point of the FT opinion piece. Berlusconi, who is a known chauvinist, really isn't wrapping himself in glory by any means, with ridiculous statements that would cost a politician his job in most any other G7 country.
I realize it might not be appropriate for me, an outsider, to pass judgment on another country's leader. Especially Italy, because I love so many things about Italy and wish that I could live there. But, the many nutty things that Berlusconi says and does just can't be ignored.
Indeed, Berlusconi started this himself, by mocking Spain's new government under José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as “too pink.” That is to say, Berlusconi thinks that there are far too many women in cabinet under Zapatero, who has called himself a feminist.
Berlusconi went on to tell a radio station this week: “Zapatero has formed a government that is too pink, something that we cannot do in Italy because there is a prevalence of men in politics and it isn’t easy to find women who are qualified.”
Zapatero has made equal rights for men and women a centrepiece of his first term in office, passing a law making it compulsory for electoral lists and even Spanish company boards to be composed of at least 40 per cent women. He recently suggested he would go even further in his next government by naming more women than men to cabinet.
Said Berlusconi: “Now he’s asked for it...He (Zapatero) will have problems leading them.” Presumably, all those women.
It's my understanding that these comments have outraged Spain but aren't widely known in Italy. Perhaps because Berlusconi owns most media outlets at home.
Actually, Berlusconi has been on a rhetorical tear before he even takes office for the third time. Today's edition of the Globe and Mail's Report on Business section quotes Berlusconi as suggesting it's time Italy dropped the euro. Now, I realize that the European Central Bank, the common currency and so on are easy scapegoats for Italy's new president, especially at a time when his country's GDP growth is almost flat. And he's complained before about the ECB.
But his musings just aren't responsible. Or of any help to Italy and Italians.