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Books

Alice, Bebe and the others for a future of wonders

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06 March 2021

Who is fabricating the future? Who are the women who are making the history in our times, and of whom traces will be found in thirty or forty years from now? Those who will have contributed to writing what can be defined as “progress” with a hint of rhetoric?

There are sixteen women -scientists, artists, fighters, volunteers, sportspeople-, whose stories of courage and determination are recountered in a book by the writers, scholars and journalists of Controparola, a group founded in 1992 by Dacia Maraini. In the 269 pages of Donne al future (Women to the future), Il Mulino editions, has created an alphabet of the future: every name (of a woman) a letter, each letter a story, an interview, a trace that will remain. Special women, “who are working to build tomorrow”, as Maria Serena Palieri writes in the introduction, and who recount their life and their path.

A young street artist called Alicè is there, who paints feelings on the walls of the cities, and the visionary architect Paola Antonelli, senior curator of the Moma in New York who demanded that video games be considered works of art. The astrophysicist of the Gran Sasso Science Institute Laboratory, Marica Branchesi listed by Time in 2018 among the hundred most influential people is there too, as is the Robin Hood of data Francesca Bria who promotes humanism in technologies. In addition, the hugely popular virologist Ilaria Capua who explains the need for an official link between animal and human medicine, which is so important in the Covid-19 era. The composer and orchestra conductor, Silvia Colasanti is included, as is Ilaria Cucchi and her battle for justice for her brother. The Sicilian Emma Dante, a theater author who cast a woman to interpret Heracles; and the women’s football team captain, Sara Gama who made a tough and courageous speech in front of Italian President Mattarella, thus starting the path for women soccer players to play professionally.

Also therein, Rita Giarretta, the nun who takes in prostitutes and their children in Caserta, and who has now passed on the reins to younger nuns so as to transfer her experience. These are women who have broken ties with the ‘Ndrangheta and pay a hefty price in sadness and loneliness. The economist, Eliana La Ferrara, the volunteers of Nosotros Laila Abi, Ahmed and Isabella Mancini; Barbara Riccardi, and the only Italian finalist for the Global Teacher prize, 2016 with her teaching method that considers all students as “geniuses”; there is the athlete Bebe Vio who shares her powerful testimony in favor of vaccines. Lastly, but not leastly, there are the researchers from the Center for Gender Medicine at the University of Ferrara.

Perhaps not everyone knows that a woman’s heart is different from that of a man, but the drugs on the market are tested on men. Stories of discontinuity and strength; the strength of women.

by Lilli Mandara