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Sexism in Rome

Hello all, I'm a relatively new member to this community and I thought it was appropriate to share a text with you regarding a negative experience I had recently while living as an expat in Rome. This text I wrote has also been translated into Italian and Greek and is to be published by several motorcycle-related magazines and websites. I also posted it on the world forum. Here it goes:

"On Saturday Protected content went to Ducati Roma on Via Parigi 25/27, Italy, to test ride the Monster Protected content . I had booked an appointment through their website several weeks before and it was confirmed by them. So I walked into the store accompanied by an Italian friend who also booked a test ride for the same date and time. The employee approached us, without greeting us and asked what we wanted. We explained we were there for a test ride and he assumed it was just for my male friend so we said it was for both of us which seemed to disturb him by the look on his face. He asked if I was going to test ride the Monster 696, apparently he must have thought it was more suitable for a woman, but I clarified that I had made the appointment for the Monster Protected content and his displeasure was even more apparent when I said that. He asked for my driver's license and went to talk to another employee who was present, only to turn to me again and inform me that I can not test ride a motorcycle as the insurance only covers Italians.

Just to clarify, I am a European citizen with a European driving license and already the owner of two Ducati motorcycles and another Italian bike (however it seems that they thought the Monster Protected content just be too much bike for me to handle hahaha!). And of course if this was the case, why did they confirm the test ride for me instead of informing me that non-Italians can not test ride their motorcycles? I mean, my name is clearly not Italian...By the store employees' reaction I could see that the problem was not my nationality but my gender, I thought that such things were obsolete nowadays...Obviously not.

Of course I left the store at this point, they obviously did not want me to test ride a motorcycle so I took up the matter with the company by emailing them about the experience I had with Ducati Roma, Via Parigi 25/27. This morning I received a phone call from Ducati Central Customer Service and was informed that there is no such policy about non-Italians and that ALL customers have the right to test ride the motorcycles in order to decide about a purchase. They offered me their apologies for this matter and asked me to try to book a test ride with another dealer in order to complete my test ride...

I can only say that I am appalled by this disgraceful example of discrimination by a "big" store in the heart of Rome of all places! I just thought that it was right to inform any interested parties about the "policy" of this specific Ducati Store in order to avoid having a similar negative experience to mine. If you are a non-Italian woman don't try to book a test ride at Ducati Roma, Via Parigi, you'll just waste your morning as I did and leave feeling offended.

I wish to thank Ducati Customer Service for replying to my complaint in a timely manner and for giving me an honest answer, instead of trying to "cover" for the culprits as one might have expected. It seems that racism and sexism are NOT company policy, maybe just the policy of the employees I dealt with at Ducati Roma, Via Parigi.

Some women aren't just to sit half-naked on a motorcycle to take some sexy pictures for the boys, they are RIDERS!"

I would like to add that the names of the specific employees were given to Ducati Motor Holding in my original email to them. I think that by informing people of such incidents will help prevent them from happening again. Thanks for reading!

Rome Forum