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Libere di sapere. Il diritto delle donne all’istruzione dal Cinquecento al mondo contemporaneo

This is the first book in Italian to offer an authentically broad overview of the topic, providing a systematic synthesis of the long and complex path leading to the recognition of women’s right to education. In the first part of the book the author concentrates chiefly on Europe and Italy between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, exploring the types of education offered to girls and the age-old prejudice about the rational capacities of the so-called “weaker sex”. The second part then addresses the global context in its entirety, examining the proceedings of the principal conferences and the international and regional documents produced on the subject, from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 to the Beijing Platform for Action of 1995.
This is a story that is anything but over, the aims of which – peace, tolerance and freedom – are now coming up against new and dramatic obstacles. The contribution of women to overcoming these could well prove decisive.


Alessia Lirosi is an adjunct professor of Modern History at the “La Sapienza” University of Rome. Her main interests are the relations between religion, customs and society and gender issues. She has published articles and essays in journals and books in Italy and abroad. With Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura she has recently published Una confraternita femminile a Roma. La Compagnia di Sant\’Anna nella chiesa di S. Pantaleo tra XVII e XVIII secolo.