Italy will celebrate on Sept. 22 its state-sponsored Fertility Day to encourage family planning and parenthood.
The Italian Government will use this occasion to sound the alarm over what it characterizes as a dramatic birth rate decline. Aging populations and decreasing birthrates are a demographic fear of many advanced countries, but Italy’s take on how to resolve the problem has only presented reprisals.
According to the World Bank, Italy has a fertility rate of 1.4 children per woman. It is below that of 1.9 for the United States and 2.45 for the world’s nations on average. Italy has experienced 509,000 live births, one of the lowest numbers since the country was established in 1861, provoking its health minister to announce that it a ‘dying country.’
Italy is holding its inaugural Fertility Day to emphasize the beauty of parenthood and provide roundtable debates on reproductive health and fertility. While it might seem harmless, the country’s health department is seeking to raise awareness with an advertisement campaign that for many might appear as sexist, misguided and alarmist.
The campaign was backed by a group of ads that combined lines such as ‘beauty has no age. Fertility does,’and ‘fertility is a common good’. They were accompanied by a woman holding an hourglass in her hand. On social media, the general opinion was that the messages are offensive and dangerous while insulting for individuals who cannot have children but would like to.
People believe that the Italian government seems to avoid the chance to approach some greater problems that could have a decisive impact on birthrates. Moreover, it is considered a controversial decision of a government agency to shame and alarm people into having children.
In the developed worlds, the economic opportunity is frequently connected to higher birth rates. In the U.S., birth rates decreased as the recession started in 2008.
In Italy, the unemployment rate for individuals under 25 years old is an unbelievable 40 percent, while the rates for people of all ages reached 11.6 percent. It is more than twice the U.S. unemployment rate. It surely couldn’t be considered the kind of economic stability that people are looking for when considering to start a family.
However, it seems that a better tactic should be followed by the Italian government, rather than attend to fear and shame, would be to carefully observe the equality and economic issues first.
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