Brussels, 8th March 2024

Every 8th March the world celebrates International Women’s Day. To celebrate the occasion, we have spoken to a couple of strong women around FAFCE who promote the family. Please read our feature interview with FAFCE second vice-president and president of KLS Angelika Weichsel Mitterrutzner.

We also had a conversation with Carla Di Lello, who is another champion of the family movement in Europe. As a lawyer, Carla has a rigorous attention to detail and a sharp intellect when analysing the impact of legislation on the family.

When reflecting on her upbringing, Carla raised the presence of intergenerational solidarity: “An example of strength and tenacity was my maternal grandmother, who was able to face difficulties in post-war Sicily without ever breaking down and knowing that the only solution was not to be discouraged and work hard.”

Her nonna did not have it easy. Despite being widowed at a young age, “she managed to raise her children, working in a land, Sicily, and in a historical period when it was not so usual that women took up employment.”

When asked about whether there were any heroic inspirations in the wider world that she drew encouragement from, Carla went back to her grandmother. “Nobody! I already had a great example in my grandmother. Sources of inspiration are usually found in the family.” We can all certainly find inspiration from women in our own family lives.

While not everyone has the kind of challenging conditions that her grandmother had, it can still be an arduous life for women, especially in the balancing of work and family. “The greatest difficulty for women is the reconciliation of family and work management”, adds Carla.

The answer, though, is in unity and not division, insists Carla: “we talk, too often, about women and men as opposing persons. Both should be made responsible for the need to form an alliance between men and women in all sectors of society.” This is the natural reconciliation of the family, which infers a sharing of labour and responsibility in the service of children and, in turn, serves the community as a whole.

Carla sits as the Vice-President of the Catholic Jurists of Rome, a member of the Union of Italian Catholic Jurists (UGCI, or Unione Giuristi Cattolici Italiani in Italian). The central union consists of over 80 member unions at the local level. Formed in 1948, the UCGI is a crucial organisation for lay Catholics, particularly when it comes to campaigning for a legislative and juridical system informed by Christian ethics.

She reflects on her position and finds hope in these kinds of lay associations: “Women often manage to be an aggregating factor and usually manage to see things with a typically feminine vision. It’s important to be there. For this reason, I take very seriously my role as Vice-president of the Jurists Catholic of Rome and I encourage women to register in the association.”

For all the challenges in society, Carla reminds us that “the family will exist as long as men and women survive.” She added that, “the human being survives as part of a family”. While political and ideological divisions mask the reality of the family, Carla says that “the truth in this sense may be blurred, but then it will emerge.”