ROME – Hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets across Italy on Sunday to demand better treatment for women after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi came under investigation for prostitution with a minor.

The nationwide female-led protest took place after prosecutors Wednesday filed a formal request for Berlusconi to stand trial for paying a 17-year-old for sex and abusing power in trying to cover it up.

The event was organized by a non- partisan women’s group whose members describe themselves on their Facebook page as “neither desperate, nor housewives.” Speakers called on Berlusconi, 74, to resign.

“Women in this country are denigrated by the repeated, indecent and ostentatious representation of women as a naked sexual object on offer in newspapers, televisions and advertising,” said protest organizer Ida Poletto, a married hotel manager who has two sons. “It’s intolerable.”

Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini dismissed the protests, saying “the women who are demonstrating today are just a bunch of radical chic who are being used for political reasons.”