Saying No to Kids in Britain

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Britain's Grazia magazine recently conducted a survey of 2,000 women. It planned to coincide the publication of the survey numbers with the release of Sarah Jessica Parker's latest film, "I Don't Know How She Does It."  As Grazia puts it, the numbers "uncovered a whole new tribe dubbed the 'I Don't Know Why She Does It' generation." Check out what the survey found:

Here are some of the higher percentage results for the survey respondents without children:

Almost 50% of those without children said they "would rather get on the property ladder" -- that is, be able to buy property e.g., their home.

Almost 50% of those without children think having a child would make them poorer, and over 50% of childless say they couldn't afford a baby even if they wanted one.

50% of women over 30 without children "look at stay-at-home mothers and think it will be difficult for them (the moms) to get back on the career ladder."

44% of those without children said they feel sorry for working mums struggling to have it all.


EmptyStroller
Image: LoopZilla via Flickr

Other numbers related to respondents without children include:

1 in 3 childless women said they don't ever want to become a mother.

28% would rather have a $100,000 (in British pds) salary than be a mother.

4 in 10 say they aren't ready to give up their lifestyle.

26% admit they are fearful of the effect motherhood would have on their career.

In the Grazia article, the ages of the respondent childless women aren't always clear. However when it comes to 20 somethings, Grazia editor-in-chief Jane Bruton says, "It's clear from our survey 'having a baby' has just dropped off the to-do list" for the 20 something generation.

Half of the childless respondents look at moms and think their career will be affected, and about 1 in 5 childless respondents said that they fear motherhood would affect their career. To this, Bruton concludes that, "It's time we started looking at the support systems out there for women so the new generation don't feel pushed into making a choice between motherhood and a career."

While economic, lifestyle and work life factors seem to be at play with the childless respondents to this survey, I am not convinced that making more support systems available to women would make more childless women than not change their minds about not having children.

These and other survey numbers don't boil down to the only interpretation being women having to make a choice between motherhood and a career. While good in its intent, and smart media when it comes to survey result release, Bruton's conclusions limitedly fall back on the myth that the biggest reason women don't have kids is because they are forced to choose, and their career is more important.

As the childfree, know, there are so many more reasons women don't want kids than the feelings of forced choice. For many childfree there really was never a choice to begin with. For others, not having children due to situational circumstance evolved into realizing they just did not have a big desire to raise a child.  For many, feeling "pushed" one way or another is just not how they would describe their decision to become a parent.

Laura Carroll

Childfree author of Families of Two

blogging at La Vie Childfree http://lauracarroll.com

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