Carfagna attended school in Salerno. She then went to New York to study dancing and also spent several years at drama school.
In 1997 she entered the Miss Italy contest finishing 6th and being awarded the title, Miss Cinema. In 2001 she graduated from the University of Salerno in law with a thesis on information law and broadcasting systems
Following this she began work on television as a showgirl on La domenica del villaggio and several other programmes. She also appeared nude in several magazines (although later stated that regretted having done so).
Carfagna went into politics in 2004 under Berlusconi and Forza Italia as leader of their women's movement. In 2008 she was elected to the House of Representatives in what is considered a safe seat. She was then appointed minister for equal opportunities.
Her policies have included:
- tough on crime
- measures against sexual violence and violence against children
- campaigning against female circumcision
- ban on full face burqas
She was the main proponent of a law on stalking.
She also introduced a bill outlawing street prostitution saying, "Prostitution makes me shudder. Horrifies me. I do not understand people who sell their bodies." Carla Corso, a founder of the Committee on the Rights of Prostitutes, responded by saying that, "the lady used her body to get where she is, making calendars. Just open the internet to see her charms."
In November 2010 she resigned from the government over clashes with Berlusconi over his handling of the rubbish crisis in Naples.
Carfagna opposed same-sex marriages on the grounds that marriage was related to procreation. This aroused the indignation of not only gay couples but also infertile couples. Vladimir Luxuria retaliated by making parallels between Carfagna and the Nazis who also condemned homosexuality because of the inability to procreate.
Carfagna followed this by refusing to support 2008 Gay Pride march saying that gays were totally integrated into society and there was no need for the march. The following year all references to the LGBT community were removed from the website of the ministry of Equal Opportunities without explanation.
However, in 2010 Carfagna publically apologised for her previous remarks on homosexuality.
In 2007 at an award ceremony Berlusconi said he would marry her if he weren't married already; his wife demanded a public apology (see Berlusconi Gaffes for more on this).
In 2008 a magazine claimed it had suggestive phone calls between her and Berlusconi alluding to oral sex.
- Named the world's most beautiful minister by the German Bild magazine.
The video shows various clips of Mara Carfagna overlaid with her comments and stance on such issues as prostitution, exploitation of women, gay rights and suchlike.
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