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Our agenda

What's the problem?

The Why Wait Agenda initiative emerges on a gap. The gap between how many children people want, and how many children people actually have, particularly - but not only - in Europe. A statistically observed and ascertained gap - investigated through researches and surveys - between the answer to the question “How many children do you wish to have?” and the number of children women actually give birth to. There would be no initiative if this gap would not exist, and the Why Wait Agenda would be much less important. Of course, a website full of good information about maternity and the risks of postponing it would always be useful. And yes, it would certainly be wise to ponder the medium- and long-term effects of low birth rate on the social security system; for the newborns of today will be the workers of tomorrow, and their social security contributions should supposedly pay the pensions of those who are workers today, and retirees tomorrow. There would not be a social urgency to address the topic, though. There would not be suffering among people about this low birth rate. There would be no frustration. No pain for the unborn children, wanted but never conceived. Figures, in this scenario, would prove that yes, people are having less children than in the past. But that they do so by choice, being happy with it. People today are not content with it. They do not have the number of children they want. Not in Italy, not in Switzerland. (Basically, nowhere in Western countries). The answer to the question “How many children do you wish to have?” is, on average, 2. There is a huge gap between what’s wished for and what’s achieved. It is largely inferior to 2 more or less everywhere in Europe. In Italy it is 1.25. In Switzerland, 1.39. The Why Wait Agenda’s aim is to investigate the factors causing this fertility gap. Scrutinizing them. Eliminating those that are possibile to eliminate. Confronting the others, putting them under the spotlight. Changing the situation. Closing the gap. Making sure that people will be able to have as many children as they want.

Our goals

Our main goal is to reduce the gap between the number of children people wish to have, and the number of children people actually have - in Switzerland, Italy and in the vast majority of Western countries. We want to close the gap, allowing people to have as many children as they want, and most of all: when they want. To do so, we’ve chosen the ever increasing average age of first-time mothers as a starting point: if this ceases to increase, and moreover if the trend is reversed, then the fertility rate can rise, and people will be more likely to have the number of children they wish for, with no need to “wait”. We are focusing on the main roots of this issue - the factors that compel young people, and especially young women, to pospone starting a family - and we intend to tackle them one by one.

Our values

Unlike other initiatives dedicated to the issue of low birth rates, The Why Wait Agenda has a profoundly secular and pro-choice perspective and identity. We believe in the freedom to choose whether to have children, how many, and especially when. We believe in equal parenting, in the possibility that men and women share care activities equally, and that we must abandon the stereotype that "it is right" that mothers should take on most of the responsibilities of raising children. We believe in science, knowledge, scientific and social research. We'd like to deepen as much as possible the topics we deal with on The Why Wait Agenda, working with researchers and activists, collecting and processing new data in order to better understand the big picture. We believe in the value of information as an indispensable foundation for making free and conscious life choices. We think that we can and should talk about sensitive issues such as fertility, being mothers and fathers today (and "good mothers", and "good fathers" ...), the possibilities opened up by science and medicine in the field of sterility. We can and should talk about the so called “fertility gap” between how many children we desire and how many children we actually have, and the suffering that this gap sometimes generates; about the social pressure on having children (or not having them), and about the support - if any! - that the state and the labor market offer to families. In our perspective people's right to have children, and to have children when they decide, without being ostracized and without the pressure to postpone, is inextricably linked to the two key factors of reproductive and sexual rights: contraception and abortion. Contraception and abortion are the options that allow people to choose not to have children, and they must be supported and defended with tenacity because they state the fundamental right - especially the women’s right - to have control of our own bodies. But also, what about being able to have a child when we want to, without having to undergo undue pressure to postpone this choice? According to our values, this too should be considered an indisputable reproductive right.

How we're going to do this

The Why Wait Agenda's starting point is this website, which aims to spread good and accurate information on the topic of natality and promote cultural, social and political action to tackle the root causes of the fertility gap. The very first goal is to inform and speak freely about all things related to having or not having children, wanting or not wanting them, being or not being able to have them – and when. Then there are the political goals. Equal maternity and paternity leave. Access to affordable full-time pre-school childcare. Tax relief already after the first child, incrementally increasing in direct proportion with the number of kids, like in France for instance. And so on. But above all we've got a cultural battle to win. Equal parenting. Mothers and fathers sharing caring duties equally, and for this to be publicly acknowledged, especially by the labor market, where women have been disadvantaged and discriminated for decades, and still are. To fight this battle we have several weapons. For one, this website, its articles and analyses: a journalistic approach. We have The Why Wait Agenda podcast, where we invite experts from politics, academia, journalism, activism, alongside intellectuals, managers and social innovators to have their say. We want to build a community: people willing to share their experiences and collaborate for the “cause” will have their space - and home! - here. We aim to host an annual event on the topics of natality, maternity, and all the non-negligible obstacles to have kids in developed countries. All our actions are and will always be informed by a non-disputable secular and pro-choice perspective, and we’re willing to work with politicians who care about these topics, to promote and push for laws on equal maternity-paternity leave, the concept of equal parenting, and more. We're also keen to cooperate with private and public companies to multiply actions to promote mothers (and fathers) in the labor market, spread best practices on corporate paternity leave and work-life-balance-oriented policies. We’re looking for universities and research centers that are interested to work with us to map the “fertility gap” between how many children people want and how many children people actually have. We’re developing a workshop primarily addressed to an audience of women under 30 that we’d love to bring to universities, companies and organizations. Bottom line: we’d like to build partnerships with whoever acts, in the broadest sense, in the spirit of The Why Wait Agenda, and with people and initiatives - both online and offline - who care about the topic and want to share their stories and proposals.

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