”He is adorable,” says Chiara Delprato as she looks away from the baby for a second and moves her black curls aside to speak to the child’s mother. Delprato has always loved children but chose to devote her 20s to financing her education. Now, at 38, she is in law school and still dreaming about having her first child.
“It is not easy to start a family at my age,” she says shifting her hips on the park bench in front of the statue of Raffaello in the town of Urbino. “If I can I will be very happy because children are the future, the hope of a better world.”
Like many Italian women, Delprato spent her early child-bearing years pursuing her education and her career. She has worked as a waitress, a store clerk and a babysitter, among other things, to put herself through school. After university she aspires to work in public office in Liguria, her home town.
However she says that the adversity she experienced in her former jobs frustrates her.
“Many times my male coworkers made me feel inferior and were rude,” she says with a tensed, wrinkled forhead and serious stare. “Also they made sexual advances toward me.”
The maltreatment of women in the labor force is not the only problem for the slender, tall and dark-featured Delprato. The security of the jobs that she will have in the future is also something she often considers.
“Many jobs in Italy now are temporary,” she says, her head shaking side to side in dismay. “It is difficult to secure long-term contracts.”
These, along with financial issues, plague her thoughts every day.
When she was younger she wanted three children but years have passed and she’s not sure she’ll be able to fit raising children into her life.
She babysits when she goes back home to Liguria during school vacations. However having kids, she says, also creates job insecurity.
“Often when women return to their jobs after maternity leave they occupy a lower post with lower salary,” she says, having seen it happen to her cousin already.
As of now she is concentrating on finishing her studies and realizing her career aspirations. She is uncertain whether a child will be in her future. However she already has enough worries as is evident while she scrambles through her purse with her long fingers.
“I need money,” she says in a futile attempt to shrug it off. “I have to work because I need money.”