Thursday, June 03, 2004


Possible solutions -- from an Australian economist

"The antidote is for all of us to realise and think about a surprising fact: those countries with higher participation in the workforce by married women also tend to have higher fertility rates, whereas countries with low female participation tend to have low fertility rates. That's about the opposite of what you'd expect, which is why we need to do a lot more thinking about the relationship between women, paid work and babies - not to mention husbands. (These insights come from the research of Peter McDonald, professor of demography at the Australian National University, and are confirmed by the research of Patricia Apps, professor of economics at Sydney University.)

All the developed countries are experiencing rapid ageing of their populations, but most are a lot further down that road than we are. By the early 1980s, most European countries' fertility rates had fallen to about where ours is now.

Some of those countries - Sweden, Norway, Denmark and France, for instance - responded to concerns about falling fertility by taking steps to make work more family friendly. Others - Italy, Germany and Spain, for instance - didn't bother. Guess what? Those countries that have continued making life hard for working women have suffered both low rates of female participation and a continued fall in fertility, whereas the more enlightened countries have enjoyed higher female participation and no further decline in fertility.

The key to this conundrum is to understand the implications of what may be the single most significant socio-economic development of our times: the revolution in women's levels of educational attainment. In the space of just a few decades we've got to the point where girls are being more highly educated than boys. The year 12 retention rate, for instance, is 81 per cent for girls and 70 per cent for boys. Females account for 55 per cent of all students in higher education. And looking at the whole population of working age, women now account for 47 per cent of all those with post-school qualifications - up from 43 per cent a decade earlier.

When women devote so much time, effort and forgone income to acquiring an advanced education, is it any wonder so many of them want to enjoy the fruits of that education in terms of income and job satisfaction? When, by the things they do or don't do, governments make it hard for women to have a career and a family, is it any wonder we end up with an inadequate degree of workforce participation and declining fertility - not to mention a generation of mothers who aren't enjoying life as much as they should?..."


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else.

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


No comments: