Lella Golfo was born in Reggio Calabria and lives in Rome. Freelance journalist, Knight and Commander of the Italian Republic, her life is a history of engagement for social missions and for women. She began her battles early on when she fought in her youth with determination to support and defend the rights of “gelsominaie” in the Jonica area and “olive pickers” in Piana of Gioia Tauro.
Ending up in Rome, along with a group of fellow women, in 1982 she invented a form of self-financing to create ad hoc initiatives aimed at promoting women doing so, she founded the Cultural Association “Buongiorno Primavera” and began her march for official cultural, political, and social activism dedicated to women, to their problems and to their aspirations.
Amazed by the figure of Marisa Bellisario and what she symbolized as then CEO of Italtel and as the first successful woman manager in our country’s memory, in 1989, one year after Marisa’s death, Lella Golfo decided to create an award in her memory.
Thus was born the Marisa Bellisario Award that for over twenty-seven years has recognized and acknowledged the value of entrepreneurs, managers and professionals, and also women involved in the conquest of human and civil rights.
The list of recipients of the “Golden Apple” tells the story of the most recent history of our country via the embodiment of a woman, and tells about women who, both in the past, the present and the tomorrows yet to be represent the best energies which Italy has.
Two years after beginning this way, the Marisa Bellisario Foundation was official begun; structured as a charitable entity and NGOs, it has become the oldest and most influential association of Italian women, an authentic “lobby of merit” and a real hotbed of female leadership.
In 2008 the Hon. Lella Golfo sat in the Parliament in the ranks of the PDL and became a member of the Commission for Productive Activities, Trade and Tourism and the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry on the phenomena of counterfeiting and piracy in the commercial field. She is recognized as being one of the Parliamentarians with the highest rate of presence both in the House and in various committees.
The Hon. Lella Golfo submitted numerous bills, mainly focused on women’s issues, as well as those relating to the defense of her homeland, Calabria.
In 2011 the draft bill on the introduction of gender quotas on the boards of listed and publicly controlled companies, of which she was the first to sign, became Law in Italy. Countries throughout Europe clamored to follow in her groundbreaking iniative.
In 2013 she published an autobiographical book “High Altitude. Story of a free woman” (Marsilio Editore, with a preface written by Antonio Catricalà).
Covering her commitment to women in Calabria and then in Rome, her marriage and then suffered divorce – “among the first in Calabria” , her son – “the love of my life” -, her active life in politics, friendship never denied with Bettino Craxi, her determination to create and carry forward the Foundation under the name of Marisa Bellisario, her commitment abroad and at home, her entrance to Parliament in 2008, culminating at her achievement in attaining the most important affirmative action ever applied in Italy.
Her autobiography, presented in more than 60 cities in Italy, as well as in New York and Madrid is now in its second printing. The book has been translated into English and will be soon available on Amazon.om.
Her commitment continues both via direct aid and in the enlargement of a strong network of women, on the international front, leading her to promote foreign missions and training courses in areas as diverse and extensive as the United States, Afghanistan, Palestine, Kosovo, India, Rwanda, China and many other places around the world where Lella Golfo knows that she can contribute.
She has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades in the course of her long commitment for women. The most recent being The Italy America Chamber of Commerce Business and Culture Award in 2013, an international recognition of the highest level of prestige, ‘because of the steps taken and the incredible commitment to the affirmation of the rights of women in the work environment in a global context”.