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  • The Why Wait Agenda

“Paternity leave is the game changer”: The Why Wait Agenda Meets Italian MP Lia Quartapelle

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

In this episode, journalist Eleonora Voltolina, founder of The Why Wait Agenda, explores the topic of paternity leave. Working women in their twenties and thirties are usually wary about having children for they know that once the baby is born, they’ll most likely be perceived as the main – or sole – caregiver. Women are often undervalued in the workplace precisely because the role of caregivers continues to be viewed as a women-only responsibility. What could help reverse this situation is an extended, fully paid, mandatory paternity leave, which currently is not provided for by different national legislations. If it does exist, it is usually significantly shorter than maternity leave. For example, in Italy it is ten days long, in Switzerland, two weeks. However there are countries – such as France, Spain and Norway – where it is significantly longer. Several Italian politicians are working to amend the law and increase the duration of paternity leave in Italy. Voltolina discusses the issue with Lia Quartapelle, a member of the Italian Parliament and of the Democratic Party (PD), who just introduced a bill to the Italian House of Representatives to provide for a for a paid, three-months mandatory paternity leave.

Extending paternity leave would act as a «the game changer», says Quartapelle in the episode. And it’s not really that expensive: «It costs between 1.5 and 2 billion euros per year, not 40! It is achievable, if the political will is there».

The question is: will the new Parliament and Government, led for the first time by a female leader of a right wing party, support this bill? And are Italians ready to truly commit to gender equality, starting from equal parenting?


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