La Repubblica newspaper criticises Italian PM Giorgia Meloni for taking her daughter to G20 summit. Meloni hits back saying, “I’ll mother as I see fit”.
Italian PM Giorgia Meloni took her six-year-od daughter with her to the G20 summit in Indonesia this week. A number of newspapers questioned Meloni’s decision, saying she should have been focusing on her work, not taking her daughter along with her.
Meloni rebuked the criticism she faced, saying ‘I’ll mother as I see fit’.
Ms Meloni took Ginevra to the summit in Indonesia, where she met US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
During the G20 summit China’s President Xi said he hoped Italy would play an important role in helping the European Union’s policy towards Beijing remain “positive” and “independent”. When she met with US President Biden, the pair discussed continued support for Ukraine, stability in the Mediterranean and their ties with China.
Italian newspapers’ criticism
An article in the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica criticised Ms Meloni, saying: “Why in these four days that require every mental, physical and emotional energy of a head of state, did Giorgia Meloni choose to take upon herself the load … of a daughter in tow?”
A columnist in La Stampa asked why the far-right leader took her daughter to Bali. The communist said she should have told her: “I’m sorry daughter, but mummy is saving Italy”.
Ms Meloni attacked the “incredible debate” on Facebook, writing: “The question I have to ask the leaders of this passionate debate is: so you think that how my daughter should grow up is your business?
“Because here’s the news: it is not. I have the right to mother as I see fit and I have the right to do all I can for this nation without depriving Ginevra of a mother.
“I hope this answer is enough to get you to deal with more relevant and vague matters of your competence.”
Meloni – “defender of traditional family”
Ms Meloni considers herself a defender of the “traditional family”. During her election campaign, she made no secret of her priorities making it her signature catchphrase: “I’m Giorgia, I’m a woman, I’m a mother, I’m Italian, I’m Christian! You won’t take that away from me!”
Ms Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, which has far-right leanings, won the most votes in Italy’s national election in September. However, it did not win enough votes to govern outright, with a pre-arranged alliance between right-wing allies Matteo Salvini and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi took control of the government.
As Italy’s first female prime minister and the mother of a young child, Giorgia Meloni was always likely to come under scrutiny and attract criticism for the way in which she chooses to parent.
What is incredible – by which I mean so very wrong – is that it has taken such a short time for the knives to come out. I would also hazard a guess, that had it been a single male parent taking their child with them, there would barely have been a whisper.
It is perfectly feasible for a woman to have her child accompany her on a work trip and still be able to focus. In fact, I’d say that knowing her child was safe with the entourage would be far more calming than be forever wondering what your child is up to back in Rome. So why is it even news that Meloni takes her daughter to the G20 summit?
Wake up La Stampa and La Repubblica. This is 2022, not 1922 or any other backward thinking year in which a woman taking her child with her on a work trip is considered wrong.
If this is how it works best for Meloni and her daughter, then that should be allowed. The Italian parliament has just agreed that MPs can breastfeed in the house, so there’s clearly thinking that says women can look after their children and work at the same time.
A workplace should not become a creche, that much is fair. But it also means that a work-life balance needs to be taken into account. If mother and daughter both feel more relaxed when the daughter accompanies her mother on business, then all is well. And that’s without even considering the benefits of travel at an early age – when the mind is like a sponge, that’s the time to soak it with experiences.