The thing about celebrating women who are childless by choice or by chance is knowing that for every contented NotMom, there’s a government exec fretting about The Bigger Picture. Lower birth rates today? Twenty years from now, there’ll be fewer workers, consumers and producers. Twenty years after that, things can really get ugly.
In Germany, on average, women give birth to 1.3 children, one of the lowest rates in the industrialized world. More than one woman out of three with a college degree is childless. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (above), a NotMom herself, is challenged to turn things around.
The Chancellor has said she believes her country’s plummeting birth rate, because of ensuing labor and pension woes, is one of her nation’s biggest concerns. Starting August 1st, a new policy will offer every child a right to childcare in hopes of swaying women toward babymaking.When traveling in other countries, she regularly urges young professionals to look for work in Germany.
“I am skeptical about the capacity for politics to manage families,” Chancellor Merkel said. As for getting women to have more babies, she admitted, “My ambitions are modest.” (Actually, they have to be. In Germany, awareness and disapproval of the promotion of large families by Third Reich Nazis is high.)
According to a German demographer, German couples tend to have two children, unlike France where larger families are common: “France conducts a proactive birth policy and that is not the case in Germany due to historic factors.”