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Alma Sabatini

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Alma Sabatini (Rome, 6 September 1922 - Rome, 12 April 1988) was an Italian essayist, linguist, teacher and feminist activist. She was engaged in several human rights campaigns.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Sabatini was born in Rome (6 September 1922) in a rich family. She lost her father at 7. She graduated in Italian Literature at La Sapienza University (Rome) in 1945, and she gained some fellowships to perfect her knowledge of the English language in the United States of America and Liverpool (United Kingdom). Following that, she taught English Language at primary and secondary schools in Rome;[1] in 1979, however, she decided to retire and to completely dedicate the last years of her life to the cause of the feminist movement.[2]

Sabatini married Professor Robert Braun after a long time of common law marriage. On 12th April 1988 she died in Rome, with her husband, in a car crash.[1] The nonreligious funeral rites were celebrated at the International Women House in via Della Lungara, Rome.[3]

Politic and social works[edit | edit source]

Militant in the Radical Party in the 1960s, in 1971 Sabatini was one of founders of the Movement for the Liberation of Women (Movimento di Liberazione della Donna or MLD, in Italian language), as well as its first President.[4] The Movement backed the legalisation of abortion, and fought against sexism and the patriarchy. In the middle of the same year, with some other activists, she abandoned the Movement to create a consciousness group and to discuss about sexuality and personal experiences. On 8th March 1972, during an authorised demonstration in Campo de' Fiori Square in Rome, Alma had a head injury[1] after a police raid,[2] and she was admitted to Emergency Department. During one of the consciousness meetings, journalist Gabriella Parca suggested to start a magazine, then known as Effe.[1] Effe was printed from 1973; Alma contributed to the publication for a few years.[5]

In the same period, Sabatini came into contact with the Feminist Movement Collective of via Pompeo Magno, which then became the Roman Feminist Movement; she contributed to the distribution of monthly informative bulletins, and participated to initiatives and demonstrations against engaging in prostitution and for the legalisation of abortion; in 1973, she adopted the practice of self-denunciation as a sign of sympathy for Gigliola Pierobon, who was tried for having undergone an abortion.[6] She was acquitted for the charge of abortion and advocated crimes in 1976.

Following an extensive exchange of correspondence with American feminist figures including Diana Russell, Marcia Keller, Karen DeCrow and Betty Friedan, Sabatini had the change of visiting several cities of Unites States of America and taking part in conferences, meetings and interviews between 1971 and 1972, as an exponent of Italian feminism.

Contributions on gender issues[edit | edit source]

Sabatini has published several contributions in magazines (Effe and Quotidiano Donna), where she has addressed issues of abortion, maternity, sexuality, equal opportunities, prostitution, and marriage.[7]

Her name remains mainly tied to an essay about sexism in the Italian language, Raccomandazioni per un uso non sessista della lingua italiana.[8][9]

In 1986, on behalf of the National Commission for Equal Opportunities between women and men, established by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, she curated the edition of Il sessismo nella lingua italiana, a set of guidelines addressed to schools and to the scholastic publishing industry, to propose the elimination of gender stereotypes from the Italian language. After a study on terminology used in textbooks and in mass-media,[10] Sabatini highlighted the predominance of the masculine gender, used in Italian gender with double worth (the so-called neutral masculine), that deleted the presences of feminine subjects from speeches. She underlined the lack of institutional words with a feminine inflection (ministra, sindaca, assessora, ecc), and the consideration allowed to a masculine word, but not to feminine equivalent.

Sabatini has stated: "The theoretical reasons behind this work are that not only the language reflects the society that speak it, but also influences and limits its thinking, imagination, and cultural and social development". Despite the criticism received, her work opened a discussion about the need for innovation in the Italian language, which has recently involved the Accademia della Crusca.[9][11]

Works[edit | edit source]

  • Sabatini, Alma; Mariani, Marcella; Billi, Edda; Santangelo, Alda (1993). "Il sessismo nella lingua italiana" (PDF). funzionepubblica.gov.it. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2019-03-06.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Documenti d'archivio del Fondo Alma Sabatini conservato a Roma presso Archivia - Archivi, Biblioteche e Centri di documentazione delle donne. http://www.archiviaabcd.it/
  • Donnità : cronache del Movimento Femminista Romano, Roma, Centro di documentazione del Movimento Femminista Romano, 1976
  • Mi piace vestirmi di rosso, DVD ideato e realizzato da Edda Billi, Marina del Vecchio, Paola Mastrangeli e Giovanna Olivieri 2012

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "SABATINI, Alma in "Dizionario Biografico"". www.treccani.it (in italiano). Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "La Scuola per i 150 anni dell'Unità d'Italia - Dagli anni Cinquanta ad oggi (1951-2011) - Sabatini Alma". www.150anni.it. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  3. Rito, Saveria. "Biografie - Alma Sabatini". www.toponomasticafemminile.com. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  4. Howe, Marvine (1971-07-25). "Legal Abortions Sought in Italy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  5. Castro, Olga; Ergun, Emek (2017-02-17). Feminist Translation Studies: Local and Transnational Perspectives. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781317394747.
  6. "194 quarant'anni dopo, la difesa di una conquista". DINAMOpress (in italiano). 2018-05-23. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  7. Formato, Federica (2019). Gender, Discourse and Ideology in Italian. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-96556-7. ISBN 978-3-319-96555-0.
  8. Sabatini, Alma; Mariani, Marcella; Billi, Edda; Santangelo, Alda (1993). "Il sessismo nella lingua italiana" (PDF). funzionepubblica.gov.it. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Femminile dei nomi in -tore e -sore | Accademia della Crusca". www.accademiadellacrusca.it (in italiano). Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  10. Hellinger, Marlis; Bußmann, Hadumod (2015), "Gender across languages: The linguistic representation of women and men", Gender Across Languages, John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 1–25, doi:10.1075/impact.36.01hel, ISBN 9789027218773
  11. "È l'ora della sindaca e dell'architetta". LaStampa.it (in italiano). Retrieved 2019-03-06.

Category:Linguists from Italy Category:Deaths in Rome Category:1988 deaths Category:1922 births

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