Highlights from L’Eredità delle Donne in Florence

Leading voices around the world shared their insights on the state of women’s power and leadership

“Only when women participate in peace processes is peace most likely to be long lasting.”

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Former UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Member of the CHIME FOR CHANGE Advisory Board

These words were among the powerful messages introducing the 2022 edition of L’Eredità delle Donne, the Florence-based festival aimed to celebrate and reflect on women’s contributions to the progress of humanity. The three-day festival is organized by Elastica, co-promoted by the CR Firenze Foundation and the Municipality of Florence, and supported by Gucci as a founding partner.

At the heart of the festival was the theme of “Queens & Peace,” confronting war and peace and women’s power and leadership, especially during a time when the rights of women and girls in all their diversity are at heightened risk.

This past weekend, new and pioneering generations of women scientists, economists, writers, actresses, activists, and businesswomen discussed a better world of women’s power and leadership within the walls of Manifattura Tabacchi, a reimagined space giving life to a former tobacco factory—generating a hub of creativity and inspiration where past and present met and looked to the future. A program teeming with diversity and curated by Serena Dandini offered intergenerational dialogue, thematic meetings, theatrical evening and literary discussions intertwined high and popular culture. Here are some of the highlights.

In the Body of Violence

A special session called “In the Body of Violence” considered how violence against women has reached a devastating scale around the world. In Italy alone, one in three women have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

Opening the panel moderated by journalist Tiziana Ferrario was a conversation between Chiara Lalli, journalist and professor at Sapienza University of Rome, and Alessandra Kustermann, who created the first public anti-violence center in Italy to assist survivors of gender-based violence. Following this was another engaging panel featuring Antonella Centra – Executive Vice President General Counsel, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability at Gucci – in an open discussion on the topic with Elena Baragli, President of Associazione Artemisia; Lella Palladino, former President of DiRe, Donne in rete contro la violenza; and Giulia Minoli, Founder of CCO – Crisi Come Opportunità.

From Gucci’s global campaign for gender equality CHIME FOR CHANGE to its longstanding collaboration with L’Eredità delle Donne and Italy’s leading associations confronting violence against women, Centra detailed the House’s ongoing commitment to gender equality.

Centra discussed various topics including, through CHIME FOR CHANGE, Gucci’s partnership with organizations across Italy to support programs to combat gender-based violence and help women survivors: Associazione Artemisia and BEAWARENOW in Florence, Casa Internazionale delle Donne in Rome, and SvS Donna Aiuta Donna with Cascina Ri-Nascita project in Milan.

“Our greatest commitment is to support women in resuming a path of autonomy. In fact, every action we undertake to support them follows a very precise direction: to restore dignity and autonomy to women who have been victims of violence through training and job placement paths where companies act as a connector.”

Antonella Centra – Executive Vice President General Counsel, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability at Gucci

A New Collaboration: Gucci-Up & Artemisia

Centra elaborated on Gucci’s commitment in Florence, while reflecting on the collaboration with some of Italy’s leading associations confronting violence against women: “Through CHIME FOR CHANGE, we have launched several projects – in addition to BEAWARENOW, we are alongside the Artemisia Association, which is the city’s point of reference for supporting victims of gender violence. With the project Sostieni la Libertà we support the activation of pathways and personalized support measures for women.”

The panel was also an opportunity to present the new collaboration between Associazione Pelle Recuperata Italiana (ASPRI), Associazione Artemisia and the Gucci-Up circular economy initiative. As part of the pilot project, Gucci-Up, which is dedicated to the recovery and creative reuse of surplus materials to help safeguard natural resources, will provide training and internship opportunities in the field of leather goods for women survivors of gender-based violence in Florence.

Based in Scandicci in Florence, the initiative aims to support socio-economic reintegration and pathways for autonomy for women survivors of violence, selected by Associazione Artemisia. “The support we give is in the raw material – which we donate to them from our production, and which thus becomes a new resource thanks to their contribution, but also in the support for professionalizing training courses,” Centra shared. A path in which the women will be able to reintegrate into the social-work context, actively participating in a circularity project that, after an initial training period in the workshop, will continue with apprenticeship opportunities.

Inclusion for us at Gucci means creating and ensuring a sense of belonging, both within the company and externally, to the wider community. Internally, the House is committed to ensuring full gender representation and pay equity at all levels, also through constant monitoring both at a global level and in Italy, where Gucci was among the first companies to adopt a Gender Balance tool, an innovative tool that allows to identify and implement actions to promote an inclusive culture and support change in favor of gender equality in the company.

Externally, the path promoted by Gucci is realized through collaborations such as the one, now longstanding, with L’Eredità delle Donne, which follows several projects launched by the House through CHIME FOR CHANGE, Gucci’s global campaign to unite people around the world in the fight against gender equality and expression.

A Message from Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Women can truly be bearers of peace is a thought we cherish and was the key premise of the festival. In a powerful video message, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka gave the opening remarks for a discussion on Women’s Diplomacy, featuring Ambassador of Italy to the United States Mariangela Zappia. Mlambo-Ngcuka reflected on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 “Women Peace and Security,” which recognized women’s fundamental role in conflict prevention and resolution, and the goal of women’s full participation and protection in war contexts.

Click here to have a closer look at all the events during this year’s festival.

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