The first Sunday in December 1880 was, according to Annarita Buttafuoco, a particularly important date in Italian history. She argued that: ‘In a chronology that paid attention to gender as an integral part of national history, that date would be seen as one of the most significant for Italian women and men.’ 2 The Sunday in question saw the foundation, by veteran feminist Anna Maria Mozzoni and the German-born university assistant Paolina Schiff, of the Lega Promotrice degli Interessi Femminili (League for the Promotion of Women’s Interests), to campaign on issues like female suffrage, equal pay and paternity searches. Its Executive Committee included working-class women and even men and it was linked to the Unione delle Lavoranti (Female Workers’ Union), a league of petty-bourgeois and working-class women. The significance of the foundation of this small organisation lay in the fact that it began a process that was to last for thirty years: it marked the moment when Italian feminism became a political movement rather than just an idea.
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