Mozzoni, Anna Maria (1837–1920)

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Mozzoni, Anna Maria (1837–1920)

Italian socialist and women's rights advocate. Born in Milan in 1837; died in Rome in 1920.

Anna Maria Mozzoni was a leading figure in the early years of the modern feminist movement in Italy. She was born in 1837, into a Milan family that was affluent, politically minded, and liberal. This was an era of great political upheaval in Italy, which was then less a nation than a collection of warring, foreign-dominated duchies, or regions, held by the Roman Catholic Church. After several minor wars and referendums, Italy was unified in 1861, when Mozzoni was 14, an act that brought the movement known as the Risorgimento to a close. Later Mozzoni launched what she termed the "risorgimento delle donna," or the "renaissance of women." Backed by the money her station in life allowed her—and with at least the tacit support of her family—she became involved in groups that actively espoused socialism and workers' rights. One of her strong convictions was that women should be able to enter into the paying professions, and she founded La Lega promotrice degli interessi femminili in Milan. In response to new governmental laws that rescinded some civil-rights gains won in a 1789 revolution, she wrote a manifesto that petitioned the Italian government on 18 points regarding women's rights at home, in school, and in the workplace. For years Mozzoni also presented petitions to the government to allow women the right to vote, and spoke and wrote on a number of topics concerning women and public morals. Her published works include La liberazione delle donne and L'indegna schiavitù. She died in Rome in 1920.


Uglow, Jennifer, ed. and comp. The International Dictionary of Women's Biography. NY: Continuum, 1989.

Zilboorg, Caroline, ed. Women's Firsts. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1997.

Carol Brennan , Grosse Pointe, Michigan