Women and Political Representation in Italian Local Government
In Italy, as well as in many European Countries, women are less represented than men in political institutions. After a discussion of the reasons for this situation in general, the article aims to see what happens when it comes to basic institutions in local government. We shall focus on the case of the Consigli di circoscrizione, district councils since the late seventies directly elected by citizens in the major Italian cities, less important in terms of power and visibility in comparison with other institutions at national or regional level. First, relying on recent data about a sample of nine cities, we shall try to investigate whether there are elements in favour of the hypothesis setting an inverse relation between level of power and female representation, according to which there should be a higher rate of elected women in district councils than, for instance, in city councils or in regional assemblies. Second, drawing from the results of a quantitative research carried out in 2010 on the decentralization system in the city of Genoa, where a special type of Cdc called Municipi have been set up, the article is set to describe the main features of the socio-graphic and political profiles of women elected in these local institutions.
Keywords: Women's Political Participation and Representation, Local Government, Italy.