Italy: Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni named ‘man of the year’ by newspaper

Rome: Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s first female Prime Minister, has been named the “man of the year” by a right-wing newspaper. The article has not gone down well with women’s rights activists in Italy, who accused Meloni of not doing enough to protect women from violence.

The article appeared in the newspaper Libero and was written by Mario Sechi, the paper’s Rome bureau chief, who once led Meloni’s public relations team.

Titled ‘Man of the Year’, the article said Giorgia Meloni had won “the war of the sexes” in Italy and had “not only broken the glass ceiling, she dissolved it”.

“In our society of weak thinking, we have recognised strong ideas,” Sechi wrote in the article.

The article stated that “in excessive diversity, we have reversed gender. In times of war, we have chosen someone who has shown she knows how to fight”.

“Giorgia Meloni for Libero is ‘man of the year’ because above everything she has cancelled the war of the sexes by winning it, by thinking differently, being divergent, overcoming the arrogance of men and the defeatism of women. She has not only broken the glass ceiling, she has dissolved it,” the article further read.

The article was not well received by Italy’s opposition parties, who accused Meloni of “abandoning Italian women”

Elly Schlein, secretary of the centre-left Democratic Party, said, “Today a right-wing newspaper is explaining to us that politics and power are for men.”

“I don’t think my aspiration as a politician is to become ‘man of the year’. On the contrary, I think this is a surrender,” Schlein was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

Another MP, Elisabetta Piccolotti, described the newspaper article as “an affirmation of male superiority” and called on Meloni to reject it.

“At this point, Prime Minister, please clarify: are you a woman, are you a man or are you non-binary?” Piccolotti wrote on Facebook.

However, Gennaro Sangiuliano, the culture minister in Meloni’s government and a former deputy director of Libero, told reporters that the title ‘Man of the Year’ was well-deserved.