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A beautiful and possible economy: a double challenge for women

Sister Alessandra Smerilli

Tribune

29 August 2020

No alibi and no shortcuts. Alessandra Smerilli, a Salesian religious of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, has for years been combining her educational mission with studies in the economic field. Those who know her well know too that certain solutions do not belong to her.  This is why her latest book Donna economia – Dalla crisi a una nuova stagione di speranza [Woman Economy - From the Crisis to a New Season of Hope] (published by San Paolo) is a text that above all challenges women, by calling them to the responsibility of a commitment which can no longer be postponed.

The challenge is twofold. The first, by going beyond the rhetoric of gender equality, to recognize that there is a specific female way of looking at reality and experiencing relationships. The second, the acceptance of belonging in the economic and financial world with a female specificity, while renouncing the shortcut of an appropriation of the male model that still opens the door to top positions more easily. In addition, the entry of women’s perspectives and skills into the world of economics, which is the underlying thesis of her book.  This represents an indispensable passage in the transformation of the crisis we are experiencing into a concrete opportunity for change. This is why Sister Alessandra Smerilli addresses the most urgent questions posed by the globalized economy in her book.  What emerges are the core issues of revealed in the reflections of economists and sociologists, the connection with the feminine specificity, and its potential for innovation and generativity. The in-depth studies dedicated to engaged women in the field enrich the pages of her study. For example, the difficulties and opportunities of a transition from an economy of competition to an economy of cooperation; the development of new systems for measuring well-being and happiness; and, the consequences of the increase in inequalities. These are themes on which the female universe can offer ways of looking and skills, which differ from those of men, because of their sensitivity and daily experience.

Just as it is evident that on the important theme of the value of relational goods or of caring for the planet, women have already put in place sensibilities and energies which have shown the evident delay of a markedly masculine approach to the economy and politics. It will therefore be impossible to imagine a different future if men and women do not start looking at the world together. Only this common vision, which is Sister Alessandra Smerilli’s wish, will allow us “to reconcile the economy with its roots: oikos-nomos, management and care of the house, one’s own and everyone’s”.

by Dario Quarta
Author of Benedetta economia! [Blessed Economy!] /Tv2000