· Behind the treacle of the politically correct ·
A tremendous feminine focused revolution in Italy is virtually over, one that we have not been able to recount. And sometimes, smeared in the treacle of the politically correct that dulls thinking and feeling, not even to see. The fact is that this revolution reverses like turning a glove inside out a lot of clichés which are hard to get rid of. We start from the premises.
Premise number one: women between 25-34 years old who still live in their family of origin represent a much lower proportion than that of their male peers: 34.8 percent versus 49.6 percent. In practice, almost one in two men of that age are still living in the family, compared to slightly more than one in three women. Premise number two: over 75 per cent of women of that age who still live in the family say they want to leave in the next three years, compared with less than 65 per cent of male peers in the same situation who say the same. Premise number three: the proportion of those who have in mind to leave the family of origin for reasons of marriage or cohabitation - and thus to form a couple - exceeds the corresponding male proportion. But now we move from the premises to the given facts that seem to contradict them, as long, of course, as we leave aside the politically correct to engage in a much more thorough reasoning on the data related to the actual facts.
In that same age group of 25-34 years, in fact, women who say absolutely they do not want children are twenty-six percent, while their male counterparts claiming the same are just sixteen percent.
They remain for less time in their families of origin, they leave more quickly to get married or at least to live together, in a greater proportion than their peers, yet far more of these women than their male peers say they do not want children? Quite so. And changing the age does not change the argument. Indeed, in the age group of 35-44 years, the gap becomes even larger: 51 per cent of men say that they do not want children, compared with as much as 64 percent of women.
The feminine revolution lies precisely in this, like it or not: in the growing proportion of women who say (and increasingly often decide) they do not want children. A much more significant number than the male one and that manifests itself, it is worth repeating, in a framework of enterprise and women’s desire for independence which is much more dynamic than that of men. But that, of course, which is directed, and acts as a support for other projects, other aspirations, other objectives that are not children but, if anything, substitute them, take their place.
In short, it is women, more than males, who decide regarding reproductive projects: if, when, how. Even in wanting children it is the will of the woman that rises above that of the man.
Just think of medically assisted reproduction (m.a.r.). Of some seventy thousand couples who have resorted to m.a.r. in Italy in 2010 women of more than forty years of age have been well over twenty-two thousand, accounting for 32 percent. A remarkable proportion when you consider that the number of births in the same year by women of more than forty years of age were - for obvious reasons of decreasing fertility - a little more than six per cent of all births.
The tenacity with which the forty year olds put into the enterprise of trying to have a child with m.a.r., maybe after arriving late at the decision to have a child and, therefore, the discovery of infertility of the couple, seems almost to want to make up for the lack of desire for children of an earlier age. But it is always the result, even that tenacity, of the will of women.
The question of children, on the other hand, profoundly affects everything else: families, their size, structure, organization; internal educational models, and partly also those external to the family, the parent-child relationship and that of family-society. Above all this set of issues the choice children/no children, and that of the number of children, weighs in a decisive way. Today this set of issues is firmly in the hands of women.
It is as if to say that the deep movements that mark the evolution of our society and of societies such as ours are to be, even though it may not seem so, even if it may seem otherwise – given that political correctness does not want such a conclusion – more women’s matters than that of men. A feminine revolution, in fact. Passed over in silence. In Italy.
St. Peter’s Square
Aug. 23, 2019
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