Italy wants its women to become baby-making machines.
The article was originally written by Fortune.
September 22 is the official date for the Italy’s ‘Fertility Day’. The state sponsored celebration has been constructed in order to promote family planning and parenthood.
If you can’t believe it, then wait until you hear this…
The government’s campaign to raise Italy’s birth rate is meant to be encouraging and positive but it has been received as threatening and has gone viral for the wrong reason.
Who is behind the campaign? Health minister Beatrice Lorenzin, it was her idea to have a series of 12 promotional images. One image shows of a woman holding an hourglass says: “Beauty has no age. But fertility does,” according to Quartz. Another reads, “Male fertility is much more vulnerable than you might think,” and shows a browning banana peel.
Italy has a low birth rate and this along with the ageing population has become a threat to the financial future of the country.
Did you know? There were 1.4 childbirths per Italian woman in 2014, this is well under the world average of 2.45. In comparison, the U.K.’s rate was 1.8 and the US was 1.9 all according to World Bank data.
The main problem with the campaign is not that the low birthrate won’t cause a lot of very real problems, it’s that those problems shouldn’t be women’s to solve. The workplace in Italy is still a difficult arena for women, evidenced by a practice known as “dimissioni in bianco,” which a 2014 report by the European Parliament defined as “employers making [the] hiring of young women conditional to signing an undated letter of resignation to be used to justify dismissal in case of pregnancy.”
The almost deafening isolation of campaign also reflects Italy’s on-going struggle to get more women in positions of power. Women were given a bit of the limelight in June when Virginia Raggi became the first female mayor of Rome.
The campaign, in our view, needs to be taken down altogether as it suggests that women are are simply baby making machines—and it’s not good that it’s bringing up memories of the childrearing approach of dictator Benito Mussolini.