2020’s L’Eredità delle Donne (Legacy of Women)

Elena Rossi, one of speakers at the ‘Legacy of Women’ festival

“While man becomes a movie star, women are invisible and often remain so,” says artistic director of “The Legacy of Women” Festival (L’Eredità delle Donne) Serena Dandini. The festival returns for its third edition this year, with the recurring goal of promoting strong women across disciplines. Guests will participate in virtual discussions streamed on the website and in-person at the Manifattura Tabacchi from Friday, Oct. 23 to Sunday, Oct. 25. All events will be free until spaces are filled, except the evening discussions hosted by Dandini on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 which require bookings in advance through Eventbrite. All in-person panels will follow anti-COVID restrictions.

“The Legacy of Women” educates attendees about female leadership. In a study by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, 10 million women from 19 different countries across the globe were asked questions about female leadership. Within the survey, 60% believe women must work twice as hard as a man to be respected, 94% believe they will be treated worse by their colleagues than if they were a male leader, and 93% believe that if a woman holds a leadership position, she will be a victim of sexual assault in the workplace. The results of the study exemplify how the lack of women in the workplace, on screen, and in positions of authority have impacted how potential women leaders view their future.

However, the Institute also believes: “If she can see it, she can be it” (Se lo può vedere, può diventarlo). This underlying message is the goal of “The Legacy of Women.” Tune in or attend this year’s programming to not only see female leadership in action but also manifest it today, tomorrow, and forever.

Sponsored by Elastica, the CR Firenze Foundation, Gucci, and the Municipality of Florence, the event welcomes women scientists, artists, writers, and pioneers of knowledge who are so often eclipsed by their male colleagues. The foundation’s muse is Anna Maria Luisa de ‘Medici who is the last of the family’s grand-ducal branch and to whom Florence owes much of its cultural heritage.  Guests this year include women leaders in medicine, environmental studies, technology, economics, social sciences, and the arts to engage in stimulating discussions about a post-COVID world and its challenges but also potential.

Leading up to the start of the three-day festival, the foundation is offering online events on Tuesdays and Thursdays pertaining to discussions on works of fiction, non-fiction, and children’s literature. The latest addition to this programming is a virtual interview with author Laura Imai Messina who recently published a novel, Tokyo tutto l’anno. Her interview will be live-streamed on Eredità delle Donne’s Facebook page.

Friday, Oct. 23 marks the beginning of the festival with an introductory discussion on “Women with Numbers, Scientists, Writers, and Economists Who Can Change the World” from 9 to 11:30 am at the Manifattura Tabacchi or online. Prominent women figures including Dandini, director of CERN in Geneva Rula Jebreal, and author Margaret Atwood will reflect on how the current crisis may be an opportunity to begin anew. The events on Saturday and Sunday fall into two categories: “Books” or “Routes to the New World.”

Saturday 24 will see a multitude of talks covering a wide range of topics including women leadership and environmentalism. Journalist Silvia Bencivelli will lead a panel discussion from 11:30 am -1 pm online or at the Manifattura Tabacchi titled “Thinking the Impossible” which will invite women scientists and researchers in the medical field to discuss how gender roles intersect with the coronavirus emergency. Immediately after this, the author of Men: it’s time to play without fouls! Tiziana Ferrario will be interviewed by Agnese Pini from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm online or in the B9-Coworking space in the Manifattura. Later during the same day (2:30 – 3:50 pm) at the Manifattura Tabacchi or online, there will be a discussion on “A New Leadership” led by journalist Eva Giovanni. The talk will spotlight the fear that the pandemic will widen the gender inequality gap, canceling out the successful leadership of women politicians across the globe. Prominent women leaders including the Minister for Equal Opportunities Elena Bonetti, magistrate Paola Di Nicola Travaglini, and president of the National Fund for Innovation Francesca Bria will participate.

Sunday will see an equally packed schedule of panel discussions, with a focus on women in art and business. From 11:30 am to 1 pm online or at the Manifattura Tabacchi, there will be a talk on “A New Vision of Economics and Finance” featuring the book A Good Economy for Difficult Times by 2019 Nobel laureates Esther Duflo and Abhijit V. Banerjee. Following this (3 to 4:30 pm), journalist and international relations expert Barbara Serra will lead a presentation analyzing why women appear to be more biologically resistant to COVID-19, but more vulnerable to the personal and social consequences of the health emergency. She will interview author Meena Kandasamy, economist Loretta Napoleoni, and feminist theorist Cinzia Arruzza.

The festival will conclude with a special event on Sunday, Oct. 25 from 5:45 to 6:45 pm discussing “Who’s Next? Young Leaders on Stage.” Journalist Tommaso Labate and Serena Dandini will welcome young women to the stage including content creator Camihawke (Camilla Boniardo), presenter and DJ Ema Stokholma, paralympic snowboarder Veronica Yoko Pleban, and Skam Italia actress Beatrice Bruschi. (elizabeth berry)