Sor’ELLE d’Europa 2013, from ELLE Italy

logoIn 2013, Sisters of Italy welcomed Sisters of Europe, an overview of the main women topics. Back to fight! Career, welfare, violence, maternity and work-life balance, artificial reproduction rights and freedom of choice. They all were included and developed in The White Book presented by Elle to Italian government three years ago. Since then nothing happened in Italy. That’s why, starting from April issue, we’ve been telling you which are the women-friendly countries in Europe.

By Alessandra Pon, Senior Lifestyle and Special Features Editor of ELLE Italy

APRIL “We’re not Atlas” Women are bearing the crisis burden and making up for missing welfare program. Soon they won’t make it anymore as a consequence of the temporary employment increasing.

“Stop the violence” Spain is the country that declared war to violence against women stronger and better than others by fighting its stems (stereotypes, behaviors, discriminations) and refunding the victims. It’s hard to say no to abuses and mistreatments but good laws can help: the rate of women murdered by men dramatically dropped in just a few years.

Capture d’écran 2014-03-05 à 19.48.46MAY “Baby’s coming…let’s move up North” Northern European countries set a strong financial commitment to maternity. The task-sharing works. Dads in Stockholm and Helsinki take proudly their parental leave. We Italians should keep up with Europe, economists say. Look at these puzzling stories: an Italian engineer who lives in Sweden and took a four months parental leave and an Italian mum who lives in Finland and is dreamlike supported better than in her home country.

“Mums and dads in Europe” Which are the most family-friendly countries in Europe? Sweden, Norway and Finland stand out as the largest investors while Austria is ranked first for the amount of parental leave weeks. What about Italy? It comes in 11th place out of 15.

“A baby? It’s better in North” Forget The Big Chill. Finnish government pampers its mums and even care for organic nappies. In Sweden only a few dads don’t spend their parental leave in looking after their baby. Even employers realize that juggling paps and tantrums improves some skills. Which ones? The conflict management, for instance.

JUNE “Baby’s not coming” The third episode of Elle’s mission trip in European most women-friendly countries is all about fertilization techniques. Every year 4 thousands couples travel abroad because of Law 40 bans. That’s why the famous gynaecologist Carlo Flamigni sounds the alarm: ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) procedures shouldn’t be a privilege. As to adoption, Holland and France have something to teach us.

Capture d’écran 2014-03-05 à 19.49.29“The French Revolution” France gets to the heart of the hot matter. Under a new law, gay couple may adopt and marry and soon get at ART procedures. A new Civil Code is born: no longer mums or dads but simply parents.

JULY “The best school” What really helps women today? Education. As a child they can express their talent at their best, then fulfill it at work. As a mum they should be helped out in nursing their children. In Italy there are few outstanding nursery schools, afterwards the excellence is missing. Human capital improvement is more and more important. Here lies our future.

“It’s a cakewalk” Science has always been a male-dominated world. Are women scientists less influential? Two university women professors debunk this myth and turn the tide. The neuroscientist Alice Mado Proverbio says: Don’t underestimate yourself. The aerospace engineer Amalia Finzi restates: We need successful role models.

“Mums’ nursery” Baby Loup in Paris suburbs is a paradise island for working mums: a nursery school open 24/7.

OCTOBER “Women versus work” Italy versus Europe in 10 questions” Less and less women in the workforce implies decline that means low birthrate i.e. consumption drop. A vicious circle that hurts everyone in Italy. Two economists at Bocconi University examine the differences between Italy and Europe and focus on solutions.

“He the loser, she the winner?” This is the good news: female employment rate is growing. This is the bad news: it’s rising because of male unemployment. Men lose their job and the plot. Here you have three topical stories: a hotel manager once I.T. graduated who migrated from Eritrea; an unwilling stay-at-home mum once architect; a manager assistant and breadwinner mother.

Capture d’écran 2014-03-05 à 19.51.40

NOVEMBER “Being a woman and a worker doesn’t pay off” The Gender pay gap. In Italy, according to a recent survey, working mums are paid less than men and the best educated ones struggle to climb career ladder. Yet pay equity is almost reached in Denmark.

 “Because I’m worth it!” Women’s earnings are lower than men’s already at kick off. Poor self-esteem and missing meritocracy are crucial factor but we can fill the gap according to five human resources managers.

DECEMBER “What about gender quotas? They work!” In Italy the number of women members of management boards has almost doubled in less than 18 months, thanks to a challenging law (the so-called Golfo-Mosca Law) that sounds: make better and more efficient use of available resources, that are women.

“The ten thousands charge” That’s the number of women expected to get on Italian boards by 2015. The Lady Manager Revolution is on.

Alessandra Pon

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