sábado, 19 de agosto de 2017

European childlessness is on the rise | August 18, 2017 | MercatorNet |

European childlessness is on the rise
August 18, 2017 | MercatorNet  |

European childlessness is on the rise

But does it mean total fertility rates are dropping?
Marcus Roberts | Aug 18 2017 | comment 2 

Back in February of this year I blogged about a report discussing the childlessness rate of European women. In short, the European rate has been climbing since the low of about 10% of the female population not having children who were born around War World Two, to around two-thirds the rate it was at the beginning of the century (around 15% compared to 25% for those women born in 1900). Thus, for example, in England and Wales 9% of the women born in 1946 have no children. For those born in 1970, that number is17%. 
The Economist recently wrote an interesting piece about this, showing that there was no correlation between the number of childless women in a country and that country’s overall total fertility rate. While Germany had a high childless rate (22% of women) and a low fertility rate (around 1.5 children per woman), Russia also had a low fertility rate (1.6) and low childless rate (less than 10%). While Ireland had a high childless rate (near 20%) and a relatively high fertility rate (nearly 2.2), Norway had a fertility rate of nearly 2.1 and childless rate of less than 12%.
So childlessness does not necessarily equate with dire demographic numbers or a sub-replacement birthrate. Indeed, as the Economist notes, a number of European countries had higher childlessness rates in the early 20th century such that “the baby-filled late 20th century looks like a blip”. The difference back then, of course, was that those women who had children tended to have more than 2, and thus the overall fertility rate of European nations was high.
The reasons behind childlessness are many and varied. A few women have never wanted children. Some fall in love with men who already have children and feel satisfied. Others suffer medical issues that mean they cannot fall pregnant. But a great many are “perpetual postponers” a group named by Ann Berrington, a demographer at the University of Southampton. These women wait to finish their education, have a stable job and house and then find it is too late biologically to have children.
Those who don’t have children are most likely to be the most educated women. And while women who end up childless have generally prioritised education or work in their 20s and 30s, men are more likely to remain childless because of their lack of education and work – they are not viewed as good father material and have a problem finding partners. Having said that, in western Germany, less educated women are converging with their highly educated peers in the childless rates while in Finland the switch has already occurred: women with only a basic education are the most likely to remain childless.
If a large number of women who are childless in Europe do not plan it, but find that work and education has taken up the years in which they are able to conceive a child, is it not time to make sure that men and women are more aware of biological imperatives? While we all get career planning advice at school and university, how often is that advice tailored to fit in a family? Indeed, how often is a family mentioned at all? Have we lost something in our culture when we postpone a family to have it all, and miss out on one of life’s most important things? 

August 18, 2017
In the wake of the violence at Charlottesville at the weekend Confederate monuments have been toppled or removed in some American cities and more are slated to follow. White nationalists are going to lose this battle, it seems, but they are probably not the only ones to feel resentment at their local history being consigned to oblivion. There must be many ordinary people who feel sore about it.
Where I live the nearest equivalent would be pulling down the statue of Queen Victoria in Albert Park, since she presided over the colonisation of New Zealand. Although her representative Governor Hobson made a treaty with Maori chiefs, British settlement brought wars with local tribes and confiscations, so that the Crown is now involved in an ongoing process of compensation. Still, the injustices of the colonial era in this country were as nothing compared to the history of slavery in the American South and effort to defend it.
Besides, historical figures like Victoria and Hobson mean nothing to the average Kiwi citizen, and removing their statues would be regarded as, at least, art vandalism and at worst the equivalent of cutting down an ancient tree. It is quite a different story with some Americans, according to one MercatorNet reader. He writes:
Having lived in the South for a short period of time years ago,  I understand the sentiment. There is kind of cultural nostalgia for the old South and its traditions. It is kind of infectious when you are around it -- a consciousness of losing touch with one’s roots and regional character. Not everyone feels that way about the culture, though, because they have a more realistic perspective on the history and its consequences.
Looking at it objectively, what culture celebrates "heroes" of a failed and discredited ideology? Is this not unique? The statues were erected by a defeated people who defended the great indignities and suffering inflicted on the human person that slavery involved, and afterwards developed a system of segregation and discrimination. I understand some of the statues were erected in the 1970s in protest against civil rights.
Sure, many of the civil war heroes did think they were serving the nation and had substantial personal achievements that could be admired, but they cannot and should not be held up as role models for the entire community.
Taking the statues down is not trying to erase history -- history is in books, in schools and in popular media and should be taught and remembered. We need to teach and learn from it.
What happened at Charlottesville is, in a sense, the last battle of defiance of the Civil War. It is about time that the war be declared over and we get rid of the symbols of an ideology about which we should be feeling shame.
The South has changed a lot, demographically and culturally. It is time to rebrand the South to reflect the dynamic place it is today. After the statues are moved to confederate cemeteries or put in museums where they belong, it would be a great opportunity for the community to come together to discuss the figures we do want to honour in our towns and city parks and squares. Heroes who have served the common good.
One is tempted to say, “Good luck with that,” in an America which appears so divided. Yet pessimism is a cop-out. There really is no alternative to “coming together to discuss” what affects the common good, and, as the article below by Christopher Love argues, there is one place we all can -- and should -- be practising how to disagree civilly about contentious issues: in our own extended family. If we can do that -- and not just avoid awkward topics -- it should be easier to have those public discussions about history and monuments, and more important things, without anger, and, least of all, violence.

Carolyn Moynihan 
Deputy Editor, 

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