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76% of Italian women….

The following is taken from an article in The Telegraph last week, which reported that that Italian women are the ‘unhappiest in Europe’:

‘The survey of 4,000 women in the continent’s five largest countries found that 76 per cent of Italian housewives were dissatisfied with their lives, compared to 51 per cent in the UK, 53 per cent in Germany, 57 per cent in France and 63 per cent in Spain.

Italian women said they were worried about the economic crisis, the difficulty of re-entering the work market after having children and the dearth of child care centres.

The survey, by a think tank called Women and Quality of Life, found that half of Italian women said they regretted getting married and two-thirds regretted having children.’

(Of course, being The Telegraph, a photo of some random women in bikinis on the beach was inevitable).

But to return to the subject matter of the article, I found the last statement to be quite startling: regret getting married? Possibly, occasionally…but regret having children? Vow, definitely not… never, hand on heart.

The figures for the UK were similarly startling, and yet seem to have passed most people by. 51% of women in the UK are seriously p…d off. And rightly so.

A major Scottish law firm has just announced proposals that would effectively mean it’s female employees would be punished for daring to have another child less than 18 months after returning to work (details here: http://www.thelawyer.com/1009202.article).

It never fails to amaze me how close friends advise me not to mention my kids in my CV and definitely not to mention them in any potential interviews. How can I not, at least in passing, mention the two people who are most dear to me in the world? Shocking, but on the whole this advise is coming from smart career women who are themselves mothers and know the job market only too well.  Apparently I have ‘I am a liability and I might put my family and children before my job’ written all over me. Of course, what this fails to mention is that I am more likely to log on again after my kids have gone to sleep and work into the early hours.

Is society  punishing us for wanting and then daring to have children? A fulfilling career and well-balanced kids? Forget it. Childcare costs are on whole out of all proportion to the average take home pay of most women.  Part time jobs are impossible to find, and will inevitably pay pro-rata, making a return to work financially unviable for most.

Meanwhile, I watch my spouse’s career going into into another stratosphere…am I happy for him? Of course, it goes without saying. But it is in all honesty tinged with a growing resentment that his career path has not been burdened with motherhood and all the guilt and responsibilty that that brings with it.

Female friends and  colleagues who have chosen to pursue a career over family are similarly flourishing; if truth be told these women can often be the most resentful, and the biggest obstacle to working mothers looking to further their careers.

The frustration just grows….

Feel free to comment if you are similarly hacked off…

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