A New Renaissance

Inclusion, Solidarity, Emancipation

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Vatican City - Rome, 27 May 2020 – Full convergence on the need for a new "Renaissance" that focuses on people and in particular women for a "post-Covid19" period under the banner of inclusion, solidarity, social, cultural and economic emancipation.

This is the wish expressed by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for the Sciences of Marriage and Family, and by Minister Elena Bonetti, Head of Equal Opportunities and Family Department, during an online meeting extended to the members of the "Women for a new Renaissance" task force, to representatives of the Ministry, the Academy and the Institute, which took place this morning.

Minister Bonetti presented the work done by the task force, underlining the importance of rethinking not only life and working times based on the Coronavirus emergency, but also the need to give a new impulse to the valorization of the female presence in society. The Covid19 emergency has particularly affected women, who remain the most fragile individuals on the labor market.

Today in Italy the female employment rate is less than 50%: therefore, less than one in two women works. And even many of those who work, do not have a bank account. The phenomenon of financial dependence of working women on their husbands therefore arises. Statistics say that it would take 257 years to bridge the gender gap. And the most disturbing fact is that last year the number was 212. The low employment rate is accompanied by the equally low birth rate. "These are problems that must be solved by tackling them together," said the Minister. There is still a minority of women studying Science, Technology and Mathematics, yet the women working in this area earn more than men. "The impact of gender must be taken into account during the recovery" the Minister said.

«The keywords of an inclusive future are: connecting, promoting, caring, educating. We must work to reduce the many gaps that prevent full participation and empowerment of women; greater opportunities for them are the sign of a civil and fully human society ". In this sense, the Task Force Report contains important suggestions for a "renaissance" that focuses on people and cooperation among them. These include aid to female ex-convicts and women with disabled children, but also a "certification of equality" for companies. Furthermore, a fund for women's micro-enterprise, allocated to women hit hard by the Covid crisis.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, for his part, illustrated the work that the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute is carrying out, which widens the perspective of analysis of the family from the theological themes to the disciplines that affect the life of families and of all society. He then illustrated the commitment of the Pontifical Academy on robot-ethics and artificial intelligence.

"You, Minister Bonetti - he said - spoke to us of 'Renaissance' and our February meeting was titled 'RenAIssance' because an innovative humanistic perspective is urgently needed, where all knowledge converges to redesign a world in the name of brotherhood".

During the debate between the representatives of the Ministry's working group, some GP2 professors, and the Academy for Life (represented, among others, by the Chancellor Archbishop Renzo Pegoraro and by Father Paolo Benanti), it was agreed that some common themes are of great importance: the need for new cooperative models within society for a collective and inclusive "we"; opportunities in the scientific sectors to overcome any artificial 'gender' gap; reinforcing the concept of 'no one is to be discarded' with the objective of 'leaving no one behind'.

"We have verified that there are several points of agreement between us, for a synergy in favor of a renewed model of society" concluded Minister Bonetti, and Archbishop Paglia, for his part, agreed to create further opportunities for dialogue and constructive comparison.

Original text: Italian. Translation by Leonardo Stefanucci      ©Pontifical Academy for Life 2020