Year-end reviews are everywhere – lists of the best 2013 had to offer in music, politics, film, games, science, medicine and trends of all kinds. Of course, there are look-backs focused on women, too. The few I’ve seen, like this one in Huffington Post, include Wendy Davis’ filibuster, Sheryl Sandberg’s entreaty to Lean In, and the grace embodied by an Afghani 16-year-old, Malala Yousafzai.
None of the 2013 lists of top this-and-that for women that I’ve seen included any mention of the increase in women without children in the U.S. and around the world. I was surprised, because I didn’t think the whirlwind stirred by Time‘s summer cover story on “the childfree life” would be forgotten so quickly.
Let’s fill that gap. Here are 3 headlines that apparently are only canaries in a coal mine, signaling big changes are afoot. These aren’t the Top Three — those rate a post of their own. That said, variations of these headlines will continue to play out in the news and real life in 2014. You heard it here first.
» “Married Women Are Not Having Children, U.S. Study Finds
This particular header is from the LA Times. The story reports results from the National Center for Family & Marriage Research reports a small but statistically important rise in the number of married women without children., including biological offspring, adopted and step-children. The new data supports a 2010 Pew study revealing that Americans rank love, lifelong commitment and companionship as reasons to get married. Having children? Not so much.
» “In the Ivory Tower, It’s Men Only: For Men, Having Children Is a Career Advantage. For Women, It’s a Career Killer”
“For men, having children is a career advantage; for women, it is a career killer. And women who do advance through the faculty ranks do so at a high price. They are far less likely to be married with children.”
The article focuses on a new book, Do Babies Matter?: Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower. Researchers shook up faculty lounges and labs by revealing what female professors have known for years. Will anything change in the cold light of day? Stay tuned.
» “Caregiving Men & Childless Women Treated Disrespectfully at Work”
This headline from HNGN (Headlines & Global News) was one of many published around the world about NotMoms at work, and not just on college campuses. As women without children continue to find their voices online and off, they’re speaking out about unbalanced parent vs. non-parent scenarios. Working longer hours and extra assignments to cover for parents who leave early because of sick children, well children, babysitter relief, etc. is expected, of course…occasionally. When it happens too frequently, workers without kids feel they’re being taken advantage of, and more than one study supports that conclusion. This is an issue, and a headline, that we’ll see again and again in the New Year.
These headlines aren’t about trends of the moment. They disclose realities that are easy to overlook. And that would be a mistake.