Officer of the Bank of Italy, since 1981 she is a Magistrate, Judge at Leonforte (EN) and Deputy Public Prosecutor at the Court of Catania. Political-institutional positions: Councilman in Catania from 1988 to 1995. In 1987 she was elected as an independent deputy with the PCI (district of eastern Sicily).
Re-elected deputy in the political consultations of 1992, 1994, 1996 and 2001 (X, XI, XII, XIII and XIV legislature).
Minister for Equal Opportunities in the Government led by Romano Prodi (May 1996-October 1998).
Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary (1998-2001).
Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for the reform of the Code of Criminal Procedure (1988).
From 1987 to 1996 she was a member of the Board for Clearance to proceed which she chaired from 1994 to 1996.
Vice-President of the Parliamentary Group of the PDS / Federative Progressives in the House from 1992 to 1994.
Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary from 1987 to 1996 and Group Leader in the same Commission from 1994 to 1996.
Between 2001 and March 2005, she was the Democrats’ National Supervisory Authority for justice. During the XIV Legislature she was member and leader of the Council for Elections at the Chamber of Deputies. During the XV Legislature she was elected to the Senate. She was also president of the group L’Ulivo and later of the Group PD-L’Ulivo (from April 2006 to the end of term). She was re-elected to the Senate for the XVI Legislature and she is a member of the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Rules.
She was as well reconfirmed Group Chairman of the Democratic Party (PD).