By Takako Sato
Signora Anna Maria Rossi, 50, is the only female on the seventeen-member city council in Cagli. However, the gender ratio seems a little bit different from that in the United States. This fact raises the question of whether gender equality exists on the Cagli city council.
Ciabocchi Massimo, another member of the city council says that he does not notice any problem with having Rossi as a member. Massimo strongly emphasizes that she is included and welcomed. As a matter of fact, Massimo is the person who selected Rossi to work for the city council from the left wing list, the party that is currently in control of the Italian government.
In the city council, one term lasts for five years. In districts around Cagli, seven thousand citizens have the right to vote. Rossi so far has been elected for two terms. She was first elected in 1999 and was reelected in the Badia Di Naro district for her second term as the 11 th of 17 councilors.
Massimo always tries to make Cagli's interests the basis of her decisions
Massimo says, "[her] personality is very open, and she has been involved in charity, which people truly appreciate." This could have been the main factor that Rossi is renowned in districts outside of Cagli like Fano.
However, does Rossi truly feel the same way as her co-worker? Rossi's answers are quite different from Massimo's. She feels somewhat powerless and excluded from political decisions. Rossi has still difficulty getting her ideas heard even after eight years in office, and she finds it quite frustrating. She said that even though other city councilors do not listen to the female viewpoint, she has been dealing with her frustration and has been open with the other members. What Rossi would like to have is a greater female presence and impact on the city council. She said that her presence has been weak since her workplace is not close to the headquarters of the city council and she only works in the city council part-time. It seems that she is often being forgotten for the final call for daily decision-making.
Nevertheless, one of Rossi's biggest achievements is her contribution to the community. The district she is in charge of currently, Badia Di Naro, was isolated until Rossi and her team put lights on the street. The street lights have made a huge difference in the lives of people in her town
Rossi's hardest obstacle has been time management. As much as she wants to contribute to her community, she cannot sacrifice the time with her beloved family, her two daughters and their grandchildren. She runs her own cafe just ten kilometers away from Cagli, and she owns eight acres of land. Over and over, Rossi says she does not have enough time for all the responsibilities she has. Rossi considers her position quite special and she is grateful that she serves on the city council because she says, "the territory is enormous and I see many problems."
Rossi decided to take the city council job offer from Massimo because she found purpose in her commitment to the town, and she wanted to accomplish something new in her life after she raised her children.
In the two years that remain in her term, Rossi intends to work even harder and to open the door for other women to get involved in city government. More than anything she wishes to resolve issues of inefficiency in the town and gender issues in the workplace.
Rossi's co-workers describe her as trustworthy and hard-working. Massimo calls her "highly esteemed Anna Maria." Rossi's work ethic has come from her mother. Rossi's mother taught her from an early age to be a hard worker, to never hold back, to keep on doing what she learns, and to do the best she can do. Rossi keeps going with her motto: "every day, every day is a difficult day, and then you die."
Photos by Anne Wessel
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