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Why does society disfavour childfree women?
Why does society disfavour women who do not want to have children and brand them as childless? Gopal Karpagam Mandy examines the logical, economic, historic and biological factors that have framed this stereotype.
When did children become economic liabilities, instead of economic assets? When industrialisation and modernisation went hand-in-hand, this shift in thought occurred. In fact, in olden times, children lent a helping hand in the paddy fields or could substitute a labour force when siblings succumbed to illness owing to high infant mortality rates. However, in the urban world, children are considered economic liabilities because parents have to provide financial support for them up until at least they are 18 years of age. Sometimes, they even have to fork out college tuition fees and wedding expenses for their adult child. This marked the transition of children from being economic assets to being economic liabilities.
Money may not be the top concern; many married couples are opting out of parenthood and childbearing because of a fear of lack of time, energy and other resources. Double income families can hardly afford to find time for childbearing and child rearing, since women too have to bring home the bread today. Career-oriented women are on the rise, thanks to our consumerist culture. Affording a maid or a crèche is economically disadvantageous to their retirement nest eggs. After all, an early retirement is a strong “pull” factor for childfree couples.
Many married couples are opting out of parenthood and childbearing because of a fear of lack of time, energy and other resources. An early retirement is a strong “pull” factor for childfree couples.
Environmentally conscious couples are also citing this as a real reason for remaining childfree; we have already done enough damage to Mother Nature, so we have to protect and save it for future generations. Earth conservation has meant that childfree couples are useful contributors to the practical and pragmatic preservation of our Gaia planet. Lessened degree of air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution and the like are effected by these magnanimous childfree couples’ decision to remain childfree.
Lastly, the reason boils down to a blatant dislike of children and not wanting to accept responsibility for another human being. As a famous celebrity once commented, “mother is a verb, not a noun!” Parenting, be it mothering or fathering, is a simple action of voluntary decision; it is not our compulsory occupation of full-time role, as the saying captures! An online blog has been started for childfree women and men, entitled ‘Childfree by Choice.’ It is replete with angry and annoyed arguments about children and parents of children, and a lash against today’s child-centric world! After all, jokes such as “You had me at I have been fixed!” and “Biology is not destiny!” are proving a point of the childfree, aren’t they?
An online blog has been started for childfree women and men in India, entitled ‘Childfree by Choice.’
In conclusion, there are myriad factors affecting married couples’ decision to be childfree. It is therefore illogical and sightless to assume that they are not knowing what they are missing now, or that they are too young to know the futility of their chosen lifestyle choice. Everyone has a choice, to bear children, or otherwise! Injecting religious morals and ethics into this debate is like pouring hot oil onto burning fire, without comprehending the underlying motivations of the childfree decision. So, who is up for a tubal ligation, or a vasectomy?
Image via Shutterstock.
Gopal Karpagam (Mandy) is from Singapore. A Sociologist by training from the National University of Singapore, and an English Instructor by profession, Mandy loves to write passionately about culture, travel, politics and literature. Her hobbies read more...
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