by Melinda Gallo

Being a woman in Florence

It wasn't until I read the article published in the Florentine, "More than Mimosa," that I began to think even more about how I feel about being a woman in Florence. I was honored to be quoted in the article. The editor sent me a list of questions, but I had no idea what everyone else would say. I'm happy that we each had different issues as it certainly shows the varied experiences we women share in Florence, and, I believe, the world.

My experience of living in Florence has been positive. I have been fortunate enough to not have encountered discrimination or mistreatment here. But then, I honestly haven't run into it much in my life. It would be absurd for me to say that these things do not exist in Florence as I'm certain they do in varying degrees.

After living in France, England, and Italy for over 14 years I am happy and proud to be a woman. I have never not been proud to be a woman, but I believe my experiences in Europe allowed me to see what other women are like, and how they live successfully in the world. I don't think that a woman has to live in another country to learn the same things nor do I believe that women in America aren't successful women either. I believe that seeing many examples of different women has allowed me to get a better view of what it means to be a woman.

I love how many of the French and Italian women I've met are able to be beautiful, intelligent, strong, vulnerable, assertive, and emotional. I love how they don't try to act like men to succeed in the workplace. I love how they use their assets of diplomacy, allure, and warmth with others. I have learned a lot about accepting my weaknesses and using my assets to their fullest, which in turn have allowed me to be respected and appreciated both personally and professionally.

I know that many women around the world are still not being treated equally or respected as much as they should be; however, I'm humbled by all the women who have helped in making the progress necessary for me and many other women to have the life we are now fortunate to live.

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