The role of women changed dramatically throughout the twentieth century. The early years of the century brought women the right to vote and involvement in politics. World War II brought many women into the workforce, where they remained. The 1960's and 1970's brought women more rights, affirmative action, and the slow removal of the glass ceiling. In the 1980's, women were the 'supermoms' - holding down a full-time job, motherhood, and PTA duty.
In this new century, more women are choosing not to have children. Some women choose not to have children so as not to increase a world which is already overpopulated. Some women prefer their single life, choosing not to marry and not desiring to be a single mom. Many women without children are married, but rather than staying at home to raise a family, they choose to focus on their careers instead.
Living a childless life has become more acceptable in the twenty-first century for women. There is less social pressure today to having children than there was even twenty years ago. Women without children are, instead, expected to advance to positions of power and have an outstanding career. Career-minded women find that living a childless existence makes career decisions much easier.
Being married without children is also more acceptable today than it was twenty years ago. Many couples may make the decision to adopt rather than having children of their own. Others may be unable to have children and choose not to pursue treatment options. Couples may also decide that they do not want to bring more children into a world already bulging with the weight of too many human beings. Additionally, if a couple are very career-oriented, being married without children may be the only acceptable lifestyle for them.
Women without children are a common sight today and as more women remain in the workplace longer, are expected to grow in number. The age of motherhood is also increasing, as women wait to have children later in life. Since women are waiting until later to start a family, the size of families has also dwindled.
Life without children, however, can be a difficult decision for women to make. As their biological clocks continue to tick, they may feel hormonal pressure to give birth. This can lead some women to having a baby very late in life, which increases the baby's chance of being born with birth defects or other genetic conditions. Giving birth late in life also means the child would just be coming of age as the mother considers retirement. Being an older mother may also lead to a very exhaustive motherhood.
Women today live a freer existence than they did a hundred years ago. Society no longer expects women to have large families or stay at home. As with many freedoms, though, women must consider their options and weigh the pros and cons of each. Many women without children may find themselves wondering if they really made the right decision when it may be too late, while women who do decide to have children rather than a career may wonder what they could have accomplished.
Finding the right balance between motherhood and career objectives can be tricky, but keeping the child's best interests at heart is certainly the way to go. If a woman believes she could not give enough of herself up for a child, choosing a childless existence may be the best option.