Monday, May 11, 2015

More Women with Graduate Degrees having Children

Some interesting survey news from Pew, which finds that more women with graduate degrees are married than 20 years ago, and more are having children:
The decline is steepest among women in their 40s who have an M.D. or Ph.D. Last year, 20 percent reported having no children, compared with 35 percent in 1994. Among those who have a master’s degree or higher, 22 percent are childless, down from 30 percent in 1994.
I find this trend encouraging because it suggests we are making some progress in the whole career/family balance thing for women. The idea was widespread not so long ago that giving places in Ph.D. or MD programs to women was a waste, because they would have children and stop working, but these days nobody rolls his eyes over the notion of researchers or doctors who are also mothers.

It also means more men are interesting in marrying highly educated women.

On the other hand it also means that in more and more families people are trying to do half the work of raising children and keeping a house on top of a demanding career, which I think is crazy even though I do it myself. There ought to be a better way, but I don't know what that would be.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

Well one obvious option is communal living. It's actually not terribly uncommon already, although typically you see it more with single working parents.

The basic idea is that two or more families living separately is far less efficient in terms of both time and money than those same families living together. These efficiencies affect everything - from the rent and the utilities, down to cooking and performing household chores.

Of course, this brings up a number of social, familial and emotional hurdles to surmount and concerns that need to be juggled, but assuming you're open to the idea of artificially extending your family a bit, it can be a boon in terms of extra shared resources of all kinds.

It's not for everyone, obviously. Some people are too insular and private. Others are just incompatible with certain personalities or behaviors. But if you're working a high performance career, the possibility of having that extra bit of help available for taking care of the kids sure is appealing.

What "family" means has become more fluid than it used to be. And that can be a good thing if we let it, or if we work to pursue it. If we're open to accepting other people into our lives, it can profit us greatly.