Social well-being passes for free time. But men and women are not the same

Il benessere sociale passa per il tempo libero. Ma uomini e donne non sono uguali

Thus the differences between men and women at work, care and leisure, weigh on personal well-being and on society

Among the many gender differences, we also find free time and once again women are penalized. While we extricate ourselves from commitments of all kinds, trying to perfectly fit the appointments and the "to do" of each day of the week, we let slip what is a very important resource not only for our personal well-being, but for the social one : the weather. Maybe we are not able to organize ourselves better?

Let's take a look at a very interesting study commissioned by The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) that already from the title is a whole program ("Differences between men and women on work, care and leisure") to get some answers.

Once again, it is we women who have to make choices that inevitably lead to sacrifices. And to think that it all began on 25 March 1957 with very good conditions, when with the birth of the European Economic Community the principle of equal wages was sanctioned for the first time. Nice words, but few facts, we can say today.

In 1996 the new European directive on parental leave came out but the low remuneration made it unattractive for fathers: only very few use it. To date, data in hand, more and more women find themselves having to choose between motherhood and career. Instead of going forward we are going backwards: this is very sad and impoverishes us women and the whole society.

Another great disparity, highlighted by the aforementioned study, concerns assistance to the elderly and children. Society, it seems, still believes that it is women who have to take care of such a "loving" activity, and that men are relieved to participate equally in such care.

This brings us back, once again, to those clichés that see women as a good mother, a loving daughter, a companion and wife present, inevitably triggering a vicious circle that sees the female figure at the center of the entire domestic organization. , and not only. The woman is the one who sacrifices her personal fulfillment and economic independence to care for family members, whether they are minors or elderly.

And this, as anticipated, not only affects the personal well-being of women, but that of society, from family ties to the labor market to social and political security. All this should make us think so that the "role" of women, labeled as a "handyman", is rethought.

Women, we have already had occasion to say, should never be forced to give up work or economic independence. On the contrary, we should be given the same opportunity to choose what to do with our existence.

Do you think these are commonplaces? In 2019, Italian women are in the penultimate place in the EU by employment rate, followed only by Greece. The disparity between men and women in the level of participation in the labor market remains high throughout Europe and Italy is sadly in second place. (data from 2020 Agi-Openpolis employment report). Already in 2008, European women were the most affected by the economic crisis. Covid has given us the final blow: unemployment has hit women more than men.

"Parenting is one of the main obstacles to women's full participation in the labor market."
(Joint report on employment adopted by the EU Council)

And finally the litmus test: free time, and by free time we mean both quantity and quality. Do you think this is superfluous? Absolutely not. Free time is the buffer that helps us to relieve stress: therefore essential if we lead a hectic life. It can be used to relax, to cultivate sociability, to have fun, but also for personal development, for the growth of oneself and one's knowledge, to expand one's cultural background and consequently improve oneself and why not, one's own social status.

According to the FEMM study it is also important for Europeans to learn something new. Of course, also in this area it is women who lose out, especially mothers. The reason is that they do (do) unpaid and often unrecognized jobs such as housework and looking after children and the elderly. This double shift limits our free time, of course. The ISTAT data also confirm this.

There are many steps forward to be taken. And it is important to understand that they will not only benefit women, but the whole of society.

Category: Lifestyle
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