An ancient country with a strong emphasis on family, Italy is located in southern Europe. After the defeat of Benito Mussolini and fascism during World War II, the Italian monarchy was superseded by representative democracy and alliances with the former Allies. Despite membership in the European Union and the adoption of the euro in 1999, modern Italy is plagued by high unemployment (7.7 percent) and low incomes that affect the lives of many Italian women, particularly those in the largely agricultural south.

By the early 21st century, 68 percent of Italians were living in urban areas, and 65.1 percent of the workforce were employed in the service industry. Italy is a homogeneous nation both ethnically and religiously. While there are subgroups of Germans, French, ...

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