Experiences and testimonies were exchanged at an international study seminar promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Laity
Over a hundred women and men, experts and participants, gathered from all over the world for the International Study Seminar on "Women and Work," organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity on December 4th and 5th, at the Villa Aurelia (Rome).
Among the lectures focused on the family, Josefina Perriaux de Videla, from Argentina, put the spotlight on the disorientation felt by women because of the significant changes that have occurred in the twentieth century: "liberation" from domestic work, separation between sexuality and motherhood, access to the exercise of professions and, in particular, the advent of gender ideology, which has progressively diluted the female (and also male) identity. This confusion has made it objectively difficult for women to discern between what is a mere cultural stereotype and what deeply concerns their very being. Today‘s woman must be reconciled with herself, and hence a clear determination of her identity seems urgent. With this aim, Josefina Perriaux de Videla emphasized two aspects of the female identity, which in her view are fundamental: dualism, i.e. the integration—much more intimate than in males—of the spirit and the body (women are more immersed in their own corporeality); and the disposition to motherhood, which favors in her the reception of the entire human being. In light of all this, only a woman who is reconciled with herself will be strong enough to deal with the roles that are attributed to women today. Some points for adequate harmonization between family and work were discussed by the journalist Eugenia Roccella, who called for focused welfare and for reconciling policies in the cultural field that socially validate and recognize the work, care and support for human frailty, which is ensured by women and represents an essential asset, although it is humble and taken for granted. The lawyer Mina Ramirez focused, on the other hand, on the family‘s ability to positively influence and enrich the formation and the professional future of the new generations, as well as their healthy mental and physical development. The family, because of its ability to convey human and social values, is certainly to be considered the most important motor of society‘s development, and as such it should be protected and supported. Ramirezi‘s thesis was confirmed by Elizabeth Schiltz and Bryan Sanderson, who in their lectures emphasized that both maternity and the care work accomplished by women, on the one hand, greatly benefit society, because it means taking charge of the welfare of future generations and the latter ones, and, on the other hand, help to strengthen a series of highly productive proficiencies in the professional field.