Italy to change sexist graphic on newly launched virus-tracing app

  • Family
  • Thursday, 04 Jun 2020

Wrongful gender stereotyping are one of the root causes for discrimination, abuse and violence. Photo:

A controversy over gender stereotypes has broken out in connection to Immuni, Italy's newly launched mobile tracing app for the novel coronavirus.

One of the graphics in the app shows two figures in a domestic setting: on the left, a woman looking after a baby; on the right, a man working on a laptop.

Anna Paola Concia, a gay rights activist and former parliamentarian, denounced it on Twitter as a "an image out of time and history [which] must be changed."

She urged Family Minister Elena Bonetti and Digitalisation Minister Paola Pisano and to take corrective action. "You owe it to Italian women who don't deserve all of this," she wrote.

Bonetti tweeted back that she contacted Pisano already on Tuesday and was "immediately reassured that work is ongoing on a modification which should be released shortly."

More criticism came from the centre-left Democratic Party, part of the governing coalition.

"We don't like the images chosen for the Immuni app. Enough of the old stereotypes about women. They are unfair and unrealistic!" its parliamentary group wrote on Facebook.

Bending Spoon, the company that developed Immuni, declined to comment, but a source close to it said the contested graphic would be changed by Thursday.

The app was made available for download on June 1, but its functions will be activated only on June 8, initially only in four regions, and later nationwide.

Using the app is not compulsory, but recommended. Late on Tuesday, Pisano said 500,000 people had downloaded it within 24 hours of its launch. - dpa

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gender stereotypes , gender roles , women


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