- Isabella Lenarduzzi

Should we be celebrating Mother’s Day?

In France the survey ELLE- IPSOS founded out that 57% of working mothers from 30 to 40 years believe that having children are penalizing their careers. And they are 20% to dare confess to having renounced motherhood for professional reasons. 61% of women never even think about going into the hierarchy. To grow professionally without sacrificing his personal life remains a challenge. How to get it?

Falling Fertility rates continues to threaten prosperity. Most birth rates are now below the necessary replacement levels — the number of children that need to be born to replace the adult populations. The steepest declines happened first in wealthy countries like Japan, Italy, Germany, and Spain, but many developing countries have also seen their fertility rates decline. Today, women in more than 60 countries are not having enough children to keep the population growing. This all means that our economies will continue to suffer in the long run.

Our key note speaker at the JUMP Forum in Paris (May 23),  Avivah Wittenberg Cox explains that in Germany, which has the lowest birth rates ever, working mothers are chastised and called “rabenmutter” or “crow mothers” because they leave their children with carers instead of looking after them.

Elsewhere, it has often been the case that women who take time off to raise a family derail any future employment opportunities. In the Netherlands, full-time female participation in the workforce it seems is hampered by tax burdens on second earners, reflecting the withdrawal of social benefits that would help working mothers.

Sweden however has the highest percentage of women in paid employment at around 79 per cent and the birth rate is among the highest in Europe. And as Ms Wittenberg-Cox pointed out France has the highest participation rate of women in Europe as well as some of the highest birth rates. She defied anyone to state that birth rates were too low because women were making a choice between work and families. She warned governments to think again: “If you want your country to keep growing and have any future at all then you’d better help your women keep working.” (Watch here her interview).

In the US more and more women are freezing their eggs in order to reschedule their motherhood! Elizabeth Richards wrote about her experience: “We are witnessing an unprecedented time in history. Women have enjoyed more opportunity in nearly every area of their lives, except the ability to have children. We undoubtedly will be trying to navigate this mismatch for generations to come, but if technology can temporarily compensate by adding another layer of choice, that is a reprieve indeed.”

Perhaps if more men were to take over their share of the childrearing and be able to take up the parental leave without feeling stigmatised for doing so, we could create a more egalitarian society where women would feel happier and more supported to have children. A recent study in France showed that 60% of men say they share the housework, while 65% of women say they do all alone.

So, daddies, dare the adventure!