Women in Vatican City

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Women in Vatican City are women who live in or are from Vatican City. According to the Herald Sun in March 2011, there were "only 32 female citizens" residing in the "smallest state in the world". Out of the 572 citizens issued with Vatican passports, one of them is a nun.[1] On February 26, 2013, Worldcrunch reported that there were around 30 women who are citizens of Vatican City. Ten years ago Worldcrunch also reported that there were 2 South American women, 3 Swiss women, 2 Polish women, and some Italian women. As of February 2013, the majority of the women were from Italy.[2]

Female residents[edit]

Among the women who lived in Vatican City was one of the daughters of an electrician, who later got married and "lost her right to live" in the city. Another woman who lived in Vatican City was Magdalena Wolinska-Riedi, who was a Polish translator and wife of one of the Swiss Guards.[2]

Vatican City citizens[edit]

Among the women who have citizenship in Vatican City, there is one officer in the military, two teachers (one teaches in high school, the other teaches in kindergarten), and one academic. Women obtain Vatican City citizenship by marriage (as a baptized Catholic) to their husbands; however such citizenship "lasts only for the duration of their stay" in Vatican City.[2]

Value of women[edit]

In the past, women were not allowed to open a bank account in Vatican City but, during the leadership of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, the value of women in the city was highlighted. One of Pope Benedict XVI's assistant editors and confidential adviser was a woman. Her name is Ingrid Stampa.[2] On April 21, 2013, The Telegraph reported that Pope Francis will be appointing "more women to key Vatican" positions. In addition to this, the L'Osservatore Romano - the daily newspaper in Vatican City - is now publishing supplementary pages that address women's issues.[3] However, women are not allowed to be ordained or to be Pope in Roman Catholicism.


President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama meet with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on July 10, 2009.

Women visiting St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City are expected to wear black skirts or black dresses that do not expose the knee area. The length of the sleeves of the top clothing are required to be "mid to long sleeves" length. Only "simple jewelry" are permitted. Footwear for women should be "dark closed-toe shoes". Women may or may not wear a "black hat or veil".[4] Women can not wear clothing that does not cover the arms and the knees.[2]

Voting rights[edit]

At present, Vatican City is the only country where men but not women have voting rights. Only cardinals - men appointed as leaders of the Roman Catholic Church - have the right to vote in Vatican City, such as in the election of a new pope.


Vatican City is one of two countries that do not allow divorce, the other being the Philippines.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Only 32 women in Vatican City, Herald Sun, March 02, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e Mrowińska, Alina. BEHIND THE WALLS: WHAT IT'S LIKE TO LIVE INSIDE THE VATICAN, FOR A WOMAN, GAZETA WYBORCZA/Worldcrunch, February 26, 2013.
  3. ^ Pope Francis 'to appoint more women to key Vatican posts', The Telegraph, April 21, 2013
  4. ^ Dress Code for Women, Vatican City Dress Code, buzzle.com

External links[edit]