Career Women in UK Go Childless from Alan Barron
April 24, 2007From Alan Barron, Convenor, The Memucan Institure, Victoria, Australia.
A third of female university graduates will never have children because they choose their careers over motherhood, research suggests. A British study found 40 per cent of highly educated women were still childless by the age of35, an increase of 20 per cent in just over a decade.
While making a conscious decision not to have a family, others are simply leaving it too late after taking years to build their careers, buy a home and look for the right partner. And graduates who become mothers are having fewer children and leaving it later. If the trend continues, the eventual rate of childlessness among graduates now in their 20s is likely to be even higher than a third. The findings come from a study into more than 5000 women born in 1970 and tracked throughout their lives by researchers at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, based at the Institute of Education in London. Of a panel of graduate women born in 1958, only 32.7 per cent were childless at 35. The results help to explain the low birth rate that is leading to an ageing population in many Western societies.
Overall population decline in many of these countries is being prevented only by immigration and a higher birth rate among non-graduate women. The study has led to calls for employers to be more flexible so women did not feel their career would end if they had children. (MX, 23/4/07, page 11.)