Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Η Ευρώπη γερνάει

Είναι γνωστό ότι η Ευρώπη γερνάει, αλλά διαβάζοντας αυτό το άρθρο είδα ότι ο Νότος γερνάει με γρηγορότερους ρυθμούς από το Βορρά. Οι απαντήσεις δίνονται στο άρθρο αλλά ξεχώρισα μερικά έξυπνα σημεία

...And as the British politician David Willetts has noted, “Living at home with your parents is a very powerful contraception.”...

...In other words, working mothers are having more babies than stay-at-home moms. How can this be? A study released in February of this year by Letizia Mencarini, the demographer from the University of Turin, and three of her colleagues compared the situation of women in Italy and the Netherlands. They found that a greater percentage of Dutch women than Italian women are in the work force but that, at the same time, the fertility rate in the Netherlands is significantly higher (1.73 compared to 1.33). In both countries, people tend to have traditional views about gender roles, but Italian society is considerably more conservative in this regard, and this seems to be a decisive difference. The hypothesis the sociologists set out to test was borne out by the data: women who do more than 75 percent of the housework and child care are less likely to want to have another child than women whose husbands or partners share the load. Put differently, Dutch fathers change more diapers, pick up more kids after soccer practice and clean up the living room more often than Italian fathers; therefore, relative to the population, there are more Dutch babies than Italian babies being born. As Mencarini said, “It’s about how much the man participates in child care.”...

...The Scandinavian countries have both the most vigorous social-welfare systems in Europe and — at 1.8 — among the highest fertility rates. To better understand this north-south divide, I met with two sociologists who personify it: Mencarini and Arnstein Aassve, a Norwegian who last year took a position at Bocconi University, a university in Milan that is becoming a center of demographic research in Europe. Demographically speaking, the two make an interesting contrast. She is a small, dark, fiery woman from southern Tuscany, given to spicing her analysis with passionate invective toward policy makers. He is a tall, reserved Scandinavian who speaks in calm tones and with precise British diction, tending to smooth his colleague’s edges with scholarly qualifications. Over lunch of linguine with walnuts and arugula at an airily modern neighborhood trattoria in Milan, they dissected their cultures.

When Aassve moved from Norway to Italy last year to study fertility issues, he said, he found himself with a case of culture whiplash. As women advanced in education levels and career tracks over the past few decades, Norway moved aggressively to accommodate them and their families. The state guarantees about 54 weeks of maternity leave, as well as 6 weeks of paternity leave. With the birth of a child comes a government payment of about 4,000 euros. State-subsidized day care is standard. The cost of living is high, but then again it’s assumed that both parents will work; indeed, during maternity leave a woman is paid 80 percent of her salary. “In Norway, the concern over fertility is mild,” Aassve told me. “What dominates is the issue of gender equity, and that in turn raises the fertility level. For example, there is a debate right now about whether to make paternity leave compulsory. It’s an issue of making sure women and men have equal rights and opportunities. If men are taking leave after the birth of a child, the women can return to work for part of that time.” ...

...While Italian women tend to be as highly educated as Scandinavian women, he said, about 50 percent of Italian women work, compared with between 75 percent and 80 percent of women in Scandinavian countries. Despite its veneer of modernity, Italian society prefers women to stay at home after they become mothers, and the government reinforces this. There is little state-financed child care, especially for new mothers, and most newlyweds still find homes close to one or both sets of parents, the assumption being that the extended family will help raise the children. But this no longer works as it once did. “As couples tend to delay childbearing,” Aassve says, “the age gap between generations is widening, and in many cases grandparents, who would be the ones relied upon for child care, themselves become the ones in need of care.”...

...In Scandinavia, thanks in part to state support, the more children a family has, the wealthier it is likely to be, whereas in southern Europe having children is a financial sinkhole, which drags a family toward poverty....

...“In general, women are deterred from having children when the economic cost — in the form of lower lifetime wages — is too high. Compared to other high-income countries, this cost is diminished by an American labor market that allows more flexible work hours and makes it easier to leave and then re-enter the labor force.” An American woman might choose to suspend her career for three or five years to raise a family, expecting to be able to resume working; that happens far less easily in Europe....

...“There is an error whereby birthrate is being blamed for future economic woes. The European population is declining, and I don’t see that you can do much about that. But the real question is: How necessary is population growth to economic growth? I say not much. A huge number of people in Europe are underemployed or out of work. Get them back in the labor force, and some of these problems are mitigated. That should be the first target, rather than getting people pregnant.”...

Διαφορά νοοτροπίας Βορρά-Νότου (και ΗΠΑ-Ευρώπης στο συγκεκριμένο θέμα)... Χαώδης.

2 comments:

ΕΧΕΤΛΑΙΟΣ said...

Ωραίο άρθρο, και όπως το είπες, η νοοτροπία είναι υπεύθυνη.

Γιώτα Παπαδημακοπούλου said...

Well done φίλε Πάνο!