First and foremost, I must stress that there are severe consequences associated with making it difficult for women to have pursue a career and have children simultaneously.
From my own personal experience coming from Italy, where women are deterred from having children should they wish to pursue a career, I have seen the negative burden it can place on society. The societal controlling of women in Italy has led to the country becoming second only to Japan as the oldest country in the world, with 22.4 per cent of the population over the age of 65.
As an entrepreneur I have made it my remit to hire female employees who may already be pregnant, in a bid to elevate women as opposed to limiting their potential – a practice which forcefully contradicts the norms in Italy. This insane sense of individuality brought up by men in the corporate environment is completely unsustainable, lacks ethical weight and is a blind way to go through life. Perhaps women should stop having children so that our powerful men and politicians will finally wake up and understand that they need to find a solution, because women are too exhausted to hold this burden on their shoulders. The attitudes of general leaders’ have a long way to go before the mentality that pregnant women are a “burden” to their team is completely demolished.
Aside from the pre-existing gender pay gap, women have an additional fence to scale before they achieve absolute gender parity regarding the same opportunities as men. Shockingly, recruiters think it is normal and acceptable to ask a woman about her plan to have children, without considering how infringing and discriminatory it is. Anyone, be it a male or female, would seek to apply for a job only with their complete commitment for the role in mind, and the interview is only a criteria to assess the best talent from the pool of applicants.
If women are properly valued, they will certainly love their jobs and want to return to work after child birth. In a civilized society we should be happy if a woman becomes a mother, and view it as similar to obtaining a Master Degree. Maternity gives you strength, as well as a higher sense of responsibility and stability with mothers have to work to sustain themselves and most importantly their child.
Further to the basic moral standpoint, it is also necessary that companies understand and acclimatise to the fundamentals of discrimination laws, considering the rights of pregnant women and mothers. This is one of the reasons why I am actively trying to change the industry’s perception, making an active effort to empower females in the workplace.
About the author
Paola Diana is an Italian-born entrepreneur and business woman. She is the founder of Sigillus, which arranges various luxury lifestyle experiences for an elite worldwide network of individuals, and Nanny & Butler, a bespoke childcare and household services agency. In 2006, she founded PariMerito, a network focused on equal opportunities and women empowerment.