Italy is marking Fertility Day to promote family planning and parenthood.
The state sponsored campaign is the brainchild of health secretary Beatrice Lorenzin.
The manner of the campaign and the promotional images used has raised concerns that the Italian government sees women as baby making machines.
There is no doubt that Italy’s low birth rate and aging population are a threat to its economic future.
In fact the country has the lowest birth rate in Europe and the reasons are not just related to fertility issues, as the government appears to believe, but employment prospects and social services.
The government has a more practical role to play if the Italy is to deliver more children.
Franca Maino is from the University of Milan:“Italy doesn’t help young couples and doesn’t invest enough in family policies; data on social spending,shows that Italy invests less than 4% of its GDP on children; Italy has failing social services, especially for children. Plus Italy hasn’t invested enough in projects, which reconcile work and family life”
Solid state support bolsters families and here there are discrepancies between Italy, France and northern countries.
Franca Maino sings the praises of French policies:“France has implemented a series of measures, parental leave being a succesful example of family support policy. The CESU is another, a universal voucher, which enables parents to purchase family related services at a reduced price.”
A key component in a nations birth rate is the number of women in work, the more women in work the higher the birth rate.
Franca Maino continues:“When we compare data we see that families with two incomes can plan a family in a more rational, considered and secure environment.”
In July, unemployment in the country was 11.4 percent the fourth-highest in the 28-member European Union.