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Gender and Land Rights Database

Italy

Customary norms, religious beliefs and social practices that influence gender-differentiated land rights

- Family agricultural undertakings used to be regulated by local customs, which were referred to by Article 2140 of the Civil Code. Under these customs, family undertakings were hierarchical and male-dominated structures. However, in 1975, Article 2140 was repealed by Law No. 151 (11).



- According to the system of caporalato, a caporale, usually a man, selects groups of agricultural labourers, often women, provides them transport to the place of work and keeps a percentage of their pay for himself. This system, an illegal form of exploitation and management of the agricultural labour market, was really common in southern Italy and was often managed by criminal organizations. This phenomenon still exists today and is widespread with different features in the southern regions because of the presence of many immigrant workers (16).
In the region of Puglia alone, an estimated 40 000 labourers are subject to this illegal form of agriculture labour. Of that total, 10 000 are immigrant workers and the rest are women.
In 2007, the Senate approved Bill No. 1201 against the exploitation of workers; it provided for three to eight years of imprisonment and fines of up to €9 000 per worker. The bill is pending for approval at the Parliament (29).

Traditional authorities and customary institutions

N/A

Inheritance/succession de facto practices

N/A

Discrepancies/gaps between statutory and customary laws

- In spite of legally recognized equality between husband and wife on family farms, the percentage of women who employ their husbands, 37.8 percent, is lower than the percentage of men farmers who employ their wives, 49.8 percent (16).



- Although black labour is illegal, many agricultural undertakings, especially in the south, resort to the caporalato system to get cheaper labour. Many such labourers are immigrants and women from eastern European countries and sub-Saharan African countries (29).
In the informal sector, labour legislation, including its provisions on gender equality, is not applied (11).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography