I intend to propose some points on changes of the ideologies and cultures of work in the post-war periods, which are related to the Italian case and pose some questions of the contemporary evolutions in Northern Adriatic regions that in these years experience cultural, legal and political transitions linked to the post-war redefinition of national borders.

In this abstract I limit my reflection to the particularly pregnant questions linked to the second post-war period. I will follow the acceleration in the Italian transition from rural, patriarchal visions of women’s work, which was extremely demanding and based on their obligations, the perception of women as inferior human beings expected to work harder to be accepted in men’s households, to the late nineteenth-century bourgeois assertions on women’s role. The core of such vision is the essential, not economic, but social and moral role of the woman in the family. Just in these years these ideas were shared by women who, leaving the countryside, partly abandoned also the demanding rural norms on female’s work and appreciated the benefits of a vision based of the norms of the good wife and the good mother. They somewhat adhered to a bourgeois vision, who has influenced also the socialist movements and parties since the first decades of the 20th century.

What happened in these years in Slovenia and Istria, transforming then their political asset from fascist to socialist? On the basis of my limited knowledge I will limit my role to posing questions. The socialist government walked apparently in an opposite direction than the Italian fascist and catholic ones, sustaining women’s work in industry. Statistical activity rates show a higher level than in Italy. However, in absence of a bourgeois family culture the hard patriarchal vision of mere inferiority of women, which was still spread in the countryside, could perhaps have influenced in a hidden way also the gender roles in a growing but limited industrial world.

If this is true, we can think that the present devaluation on female word, followed to the end of socialism, has his roots in such hidden continuity of patriarchal values.


She was a member from 1975 to 1979 of the research team of the Lelio and Lisli Basso Foundation on Social History of the Working Class, in Rome. After a five-month period spent as a British Academy Fellow at the Birkbeck College in London (tutor Eric Hobsbawm), she joined the Research Office for Economic Planning of Regione Toscana (IRPET), where she held, from 1980 to 2012, the positions of Researcher, Senior Research Officer and Chief Researcher of the social studies area. In 1988 she concluded her PhD in Urban and Rural History in Perugia. She wrote a number of articles and books on family, work, social inequalities, and the social role of women and young people. From 1999 to 2011 she taught Sociology and History of Workand Sociology and History of the Family at the Universities of Florence, Urbino and Siena. She was a founder of the Italian Association of Women Historians, a member of the direction board of Genesis. Rivista della Società italiana delle storiche. She was a member of selection boards of various awards in Women’s History (Premio Pieroni Bortolotti, Premio Gisa Giani).