Italy behind Kazakhstan in gender equality
Italy has slipped to 72nd in a global league table measuring gender equality, putting it behind countries including Kazakhstan, Telegraph reported.
Italy's ranking is one of the lowest among European countries, most of which appear in the top 30 of the World Economic Forum's annual Gender Gap Report.
Only Albania, Malta, Greece and Cyprus fared worse than Italy - which fell five places from last year - while Britain was placed at 15th in the league table of 134 nations, which was topped by Iceland and three other Nordic countries.
Italy continues to occupy one of the bottom positions among European countries, primarily because of persistently poor results for women's economic participation," the report said.
Women's right activists pointed to the country's media culture espoused by broadcasters including those owned by Silvio Berlusconi.
The Italian prime minister denies being chauvinistic. But channels owned by his Mediaset empire offer a daily diet of chat shows, quizzes and reality television programmes presented by scantily clad young showgirls.
Italians have long held a traditional view of the role of women but Mr Berlusconi, who has been prime minister three times since the mid-1990s, has been accused of perpetuating outmoded views with his control, either direct or indirect, of most of the country's television stations.
"We have few women in politics and business and they either remain silent, or they accept the status quo," said Donatella Martini, 50, a campaigner for gender equality with a group called Donne in Quota.
Italian women are not only expected to take on the lion's share of child rearing, but the care of other family members as well, making career advancement difficult.
"There is an expectation that you will look after your parents as they get older, as well as your in-laws," said Mrs Martini.