Women between family and work. An urgent call for balance and harmonization

Women, caught between family and work, must be recognized as women and mothers
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Women and food security: a bond to be strengthened: this was the theme of the study day held on May 22 at the Pontifical Gregorian University. A day in memory of Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Philosophy (PUG), Giorgia Salatiello, who passed away on November 3, 2022.



The irreplaceable role of women in economic and social development

The study day produced several reflections that highlighted the irreplaceable role of women in economic and social development, as well as the difficulties and challenges they still face in order to be able to express their contribution in every field. Therefore, also in light of some concrete experiences, there was reflection on how to get out of the vulnerable situations in which they often find themselves, in the promotion of full integral human development and resilient food systems. In her speech, entitled "Women between family and work. An urgent call for balance and harmonization," Prof. Gabriella Gambino, the Under-secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, sought to underline the inescapable importance today of being able to see and think of women as women and mothers, in cultural contexts that tend instead to shatter or reduce their identity to a mere individual choice. Both in poorer countries as in the western part of the world, women find themselves all too often forced to live at a crossroads between work and motherhood and live immersed in circumstances centered upon the needs of individuals, oblivious to family ties, to the relational dynamics that flow from the generation of children; oblivious to the extreme need of every human being to live within a stable, balanced family system. Despite these obvious difficulties, within every economic-social system, women serve as the mainstay, because they are capable of working at the level of relational goods, those that underlie the true efficiency of the economic system centered on the common good.


Investing in healthier relationships between men and women

After having reflected on the link between family, the common good and economic life, the role of women within this threesome, and how to rethink the principle of reciprocity in contemporary economic systems so that they can be capable of promoting the role of women, Professor Gambino made two concluding remarks. "The first is that women, caught between family and work, in any social context, must be recognized as women and mothers. Motherhood is a gift. (…) We must work to change the culture of motherhood and take this into account in economic systems. (...) The second reflection is that today, given the extreme fragility of the family, in order to support women, investing alone in the family in general is not enough. We need to invest in stable relationships, in healthier relationships between men and women. It is the "culture of the couple" that needs to change. (...) Making people understand the meaning of marriage, the importance of building a solid and stable future. The possibility of opening up to life, of having children and of giving women the ability to work dwells in stability and not uncertainty. Sharing, even more than harmonization, should be the key word in the man-woman relationship”.

The event was organized by the University's Faculty of Social Sciences, together with the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to FAO, IFAD and WFP and the Catholic-inspired Forum of Non-Governmental Organizations.


25 May 2023