Now is the best time to make a real change in our lives. If we don't do it now, who will and when?
We are living in a digital era with increasing opportunities for women as the evolution of technology rapidly impacts the global economy. The protagonists of this breakthrough must be women because when women have a voice, they positively influence the world, no matter how small their impact may be.
Recently, OECD studies have shown that Italy has the third lowest labour force participation rate at 51% among OECD countries. Italian women devote a huge amount of their time looking after families and households but, more often than not, they are unable to secure adequate guarantees: about one-third of women will work part-time to reconcile work and family commitment (OECD average is 24%). Motherhood, is becoming more of a challenge for women will full time jobs because of deep-rooted social attitudes which downgrade women in both the labour and social sector. This is not only irrational and unfair, but it prevents the growth of female labour force participation.
Research proves that better tax and childcare policies have a strong impact on women's labour force participation: if each OECD country introduced the right kind of reforms, then the average female participation would rise by about 10%.
How can the Italian Government achieve this? Well, they must start with the introduction of flexible working-time arrangements, such as working from home, flextime, and job-sharing. They must also implement projects to support families with young children (for instance, the implementation of nursery schools within companies' premises).
The government must construct the right environment to take advantage of the advancements in digital technology, for example setting up an "information service agency" that informs women of opportunities as they arise throughout their community. Additionally, they need to implement platforms allowing women to work from home so that they can raise a family without fear of losing their jobs.
In Italy, local agencies already exist to some extent (e.g. Informadonna), but their old-fashioned prejudice in their online presence has not been particularly relevant to the modern Italian woman. To increase their effectiveness, these agencies must form a network of mentors so that women are empowered by those around them. If every woman can learn and draw inspiration from a great mentor than she can empower herself and others.
As a young writer, I would encourage women to look for what can make their lives happier and better. We are not worse or better than men, we are just different by nature, but we ought to have the same opportunities. I want to leave a mark through writing and introducing others to opportunities with technology because words can help us make a lasting change. With the help of digital tools we can effectively foster young women's potential growth.
By Valentina Pagnanini, G(irls)20 Delegate, Italy
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