FIGURES from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2019, nearly half of women (49 per cent) turning 30 in England and Wales were childless. In comparison, 38 per cent of their mothers’ generation and just over one-fifth of their grandmothers’ generation (born in 1961 and 1934 respectively) were childless at 30. Separate ONS figures published last month showed that the average age of first-time mothers hit a record high.
Amanda Sharfman, of the Centre for Ageing and Demography at the ONS, commented: ‘The fertility patterns of women born more recently indicate that this trend is likely to continue, with women born in 1995 showing lower levels of fertility in their 20s compared with previous cohorts.’
In some ways this trend is not surprising, since with people living longer young women tend to think that there is ‘plenty of time’ to settle down and have a family. However, despite the best efforts of the ‘fertility’ industry, the window of opportunity for childbearing remains the same as it has always been, meaning that many women who ‘delay’ having children will end up having none at all.
There are also unnatural forces at work, mainly involving the world of work, which have turned something that used to be the simplest of things into the hardest. Even the poorest of our ancestors managed to have children without professional help (and much more productively). Now it has been turned into an Olympic event, requiring training, planning and above all money to succeed.
Successive governments have made it harder for women to have children by encouraging girls to prioritise college over work, and then careers over motherhood. Even equal pay has its downside, making women’s earnings too valuable to forgo in order to build a family.
The modern feminist movement has caricatured marriage as entrapment, children as burdens and motherhood as a retrograde step, while maintaining that abortion is the prerequisite for sexual equality. Regardless of the fact that by arguing that women must ape the (childless) lifestyles of men to be equal feminists succeed in defeating their own philosophy of equality, they continue to shout about the joys of being ‘childfree’, regardless of the pain they must cause to those women who would dearly love to have children.
The ONS seems not to have taken abortion into account as playing a role in the rising age of motherhood – the possibility that some women have ‘delayed’ childbearing by aborting pregnancies because they cannot afford to give up work. Even the major abortion provider BPAS has drawn attention to the two-child benefit limit as driving women to seek abortions, albeit continuing to rake in massive taxpayer subsidies while crying crocodile tears all the way to the bank.
The population control movement, which historically saw delayed motherhood as key to reducing the birth rate, could justifiably regard modern feminism as the most successful of all their campaigns – the unreflecting ‘handmaids’ of the Malthusian movement. And when large numbers of women grow old alone, no doubt they will be ‘encouraged’ to consider that other ‘benefit’ promoted by the population control movement: ‘the right to die’.
In the most materially prosperous era in our long history, it seems that women can no longer afford to have a family; children have been turned from a blessing into a curse.