Friday, July 8, 2011

Women + Less Education = More Children?

We've known for a while that women with more education have less children.  However, a recent article in Time magazine online puts a new spin on the fact based on a recent study: having children can affect a woman's access to education in the first place.

I often think about the South and how many of my friends began popping kids out in their late teens and early twenties--either before even going to college at all or right smack in the middle of their college years.  At first it really bothered me since I was on a set track to avoid childbearing until I had an established career.  Now I understand that for various reasons some women just want to get their childbearing over with at an earlier age. And they should have the right to do so without critique or ridicule. 

Unfortunately, we live in a society where the education track of young fathers isn't nearly as effected by children as that of young mothers.  Just watch an episode of Teen Mom for a nice pop-culture reference.

What would remedy this situation? Quality, affordable childcare for one, and access to affordable education as well. One day I hope this country will shift towards actually putting our money towards our touted "family values" and build and expand programs to allow women and children to thrive.

My partner and I are well-educated and have good paying jobs and I am still freaking out about the cost and availability (hello, wait-lists) of childcare. It's absolutely insane--yet we live in an economy that makes it almost impossible for a parent to stay home full-time to rear children. Also--my husband is working on his third degree (law school at night) and I have to say that I am wondering how having a new baby will affect his academic performance.  I know for sure that there is no way that I will be going back to school for a Master's Degree anytime soon. No way.  There are many moms out there that would love to go back to school but can't due to the financial burden (tuition and daycare) it would impose on their families.  It would be interesting to see a study that compares the level of education of young fathers--especially those that are able to continue going to school or even go back to school for higher degrees. I bet the data would be astonishing.

When will we live in a society that supports women to be able to attain an education while also mothering?

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