The actor Dame Helen Mirren has never wanted kids. “I have no maternal instinct whatsoever”, she once proclaimed. Maybe she’s got other stuff to keep her busy.
Another who has eschewed having babies is Lionel Shriver, author of We need to talk about Kevin, who calls herself an “anti-mom”. She says she has been in the perfect situation to have kids but never wanted them; they are untidy and ungrateful and would have siphoned too much time away from writing her precious books.
Then there’s historian and TV presenter, Lucy Worsley, oft quoted as saying that she’s been “educated out of reproduction”.
She’s probably right. Highly educated women do have a higher chance of not having a family. Childlessness is on the rise and has nearly doubled in the UK since the 90s, but given the extensive press coverage in recent times of high-profile or careerist women choosing to forego the child-rearing experience you could be forgiven for thinking that most of those without children are of the ‘child-free by choice’ variety. In fact they represent only a tiny fraction of the childless and hide a growing swathe of the population who would like a family but for one reason or another just haven’t managed it. While half of all women in top jobs have no children, the vast majority of childless women are low or middle-income earners. So why is childlessness on the rise?Continue Reading