Nilde Iotti – This Week’s Women in History Profile

Nilde Iotti, the daughter of a railway worker, was the first woman to become president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies for three consecutive legislatures from 1979 to 1992. Born in Reggio Emilia, she took part in the resistance movement against the Nazis during World War II. After the war, in 1946, she was a member of the Constituent Chamber, and one of the 75 members of the Committee entrusted with the drafting of the Italian Republican Constitution. In 1996 she served as the President of the Italian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Facing severe health problems, she announced her resignation to the Chamber of Deputies in 1999 to prolonged applause in recognition of her service. She died only a few days later, and was buried in a civil ceremony, in accordance with her atheist beliefs.