First Female Gondolier May 16, 2007Posted by kblack10 in Alexandra Hai, female gondolier, sexism.
This week Venice announced that it would permit a female gondolier, as courts ruled to end a 900-year male domination of Italy’s esteemed waterways. A German who has lived in Italy for eleven years, 35 year-old Alexandra Hai has said that she is continually experiencing sexism and that her boat is often being vandalized. Other male gondoliers (there are 425 in the city) are said to be being incredibly vulgar and crude towards her, as they clearly object to her presence. She failed the mandatory test to be an actual gondolier three times, and while she says that it was sabotage and that the governing body and other gondoliers simply do not want her to succeed, the city official’s comments very unsupportive. He said, “We gave her two chances to pass the test every time…We can no longer accept that she hides behind the fact that she is a woman and a foreigner.” Regardless of her skill, ability, or whatever trickery may be involved, I simply say hats off to her for being the first female to break such a long standing “tradition”!