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Italian women 'forced to choose' job or kids, says OECD

High risk they will 'not have children at all'

27 April, 13:31
Italian women 'forced to choose' job or kids, says OECD (ANSA) - Paris, April 27 - Italian women have a hard time combining maternity and paid work and are often forced to choose between a job or having children, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).

The report, entitled 'Doing Better for Families', was released in Paris Wednesday and examines the conditions of working families among its 34 member countries.

It found that Italian women "don't have many children" and the 48% employment rate for women in Italy is lower than the OECD average of 59%. "Young women prefer to acquire a good working position first and therefore they postpone having children", the report said.

"This increases the chance that they will not have children at all". As a consequence, fewer Italian women have children, and 24% of women born in 1965, for example, are childless, against just 10% in France. The OECD points out that the situation is complicated by the limited flexibility in working hours for parents. "Fewer than 50% of companies offer flexible hours, and 60% of workers have no control over their working hours," the report said.

The alternative is part-time work, a choice made by 31% of working women in Italy, against 7% of men.

The OECD found that poverty is also having a greater impact on families and noted Italy spent only 1.4% of its GDP to support families with children, considerably less than the OECD average of 2.2%. There are no targeted tax incentives for families in Italy, unlike in other OECD countries, it said.