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The Dilemma of Italian Women: Balancing Career and Motherhood Hinders Economic Progress, Reveals Study

Italian Women Face Challenges Balancing Work and Motherhood

The Struggle of Italian Women

Italian women face significant challenges when it comes to juggling work and motherhood. The low employment rate of women and the declining birth rate in Italy are among the lowest in the European Union. This poses a threat to the country’s long-term economic growth and sustainability. The Bank of Italy emphasizes the need to increase women’s participation in the labor force to support economic growth and address the country’s massive debt.

The Impact of Gender Inequality

Growing evidence shows that addressing gender inequality can help alleviate the demographic crisis and support the pension system. Research reveals that women in wealthier economies are more likely to have children if they work. Despite the recognition of the importance of female labor, Italy’s conservative government is not expected to introduce measures to drive change in the upcoming budget.

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Personal Struggles and Barriers

Many Italian women, like Elena, find it challenging to balance work and childcare responsibilities. Limited access to nurseries and the high cost of full-time babysitters make it difficult for women to continue working. Moreover, some employers deny flexible working arrangements mandated by law, adding to the barriers faced by working mothers.

The Impact on Employment and GDP

Italy has the lowest female employment rate in the European Union, lagging behind the average by 14 percentage points. Closing this gap could boost the workforce and gross domestic product (GDP) by approximately 10%. However, the declining birth rate further exacerbates the problem. Without intervention, Italy’s working-age population is projected to decrease by 7 million by 2042, resulting in a GDP loss of 339 billion euros.

The Urgency for Change

The current demographic and employment trends require urgent action to ensure the sustainability of Italy’s pension system. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni acknowledges the need for change, but budget constraints limit the government’s ability to invest in family and childcare support. However, Italy can learn from Spain’s success in increasing female labor force participation through tax policies and investments in childcare.

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The Need for Incentives and Support

Italy’s tax and welfare systems lack incentives for women, especially mothers, to work. Removing tax benefits that discourage low-earning women from the workforce could be a simple step towards change. Additionally, the government should consider increasing support for families with more than two children and invest in expanding nursery and preschool places. Currently, Italy falls short of the EU’s Barcelona agenda goal for providing childcare.

The Potential for Positive Change

Raising female labor force participation to the EU level by 2030 could add 300,000 workers and transform Italy’s shrinking labor force into a growing one. However, the policy response to the demographic challenge holds the key to a brighter future. Without policy evolution, Italy’s outlook remains uncertain.

Italy must prioritize empowering women and removing barriers to work and motherhood to foster economic growth and ensure a sustainable future.

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