Child-Free Women – Social Heretics?

One of the greenest things anyone can do is not have children. The price paid for taking that stance can sometimes be high, particularly for women.

There are plenty of humans on this planet. I’ve seen no reason that I should add a couple of mini-me’s and muddy the gene pool further. Those mini-me’s could have progeny of their own, and those may reproduce as well.. brrr.. the possible ramifications sends chills up my spine :).

It was an easy decision for me – and I’ve really never had any grief from anyone over it. No raised eyebrows and no pressure from family – I think they are all relieved there are no mini-Michaels either. I rarely even find myself in a position where I feel I’m pressured to justify it.

While it’s all been well and good for me to blather on about population issues and proclaim “dammit, just stop reproducing” as if it was such a simple thing to do; I’ve been looking at the issue from my particular set of circumstances and personal views.

I really hadn’t given much thought to how much pressure there can be on women to crank out kidlings. While I understand it’s still a very big deal in developing nations, I naively thought in developed nations we were generally getting past all that.

As I’ve discovered, it’s simply not so. It appears many women who (as it turns out, bravely) profess to have no maternal instincts whatsoever are at times treated poorly; even among their female peers and friends.

According to Shelly Horton, who has chosen to be childless:

“ seems by refusing to breed I’m conducting societal heresy.”

Shelly calls being child-free “the last female taboo”.

Even our Prime Minister’s choice not to have children has been used against her in political mud-slinging. I’m not a Julia Gillard fan, but labeling her “barren” is just a cheap shot and totally irrelevant – and possibly incorrect too in the traditional sense of the word.

For whatever reason a woman chooses not to have children; whether it be due to environmental concerns, a lack of “maternal instinct” or even just lifestyle reasons; the decision should be respected and they should not be treated as pariahs. Far from being selfish, these women are doing the planet a huge favour.

We will not run short on humans anytime soon and its far better one child is brought into the world by a woman who really, really wants one than a hundred by women felt pressured to do so – and that goes way beyond environmental issues.

If you’ve made a decision to remain child-free and are copping grief over it; check out this article by Shelly Horton on the topic.


Ultimate Greening