Highly educated women actually end up having larger families
It’s long been thought that high-flying and high-achieving women have fewer children. They go to university (often studying several degrees), focus on career progression and therefore don’t start having families until later in life. After all, how often is it rammed down our throats that we can’t ‘have it all’?
Well, a new study by the Economic Journal, suggests otherwise. That, in fact, highly educated women are having more babies than their less well-educated counterparts.
Economists Moshe Hazan and Hosny Zoabi found that fertility rates among college-educated women (in America, this is) have stayed the same over the last thirty years, but in women with advanced degrees, fertility rates have gone up by more than 50 percent.
One of the main factors is simply that successful women can afford to pay for help in bringing up their children.
One of the study’s authors, Hazan, explains: ‘You have a nanny, people to pick up your laundry and suits, buy you food from the local store for you to cook for dinner, and you can leave all the mess to the housekeeper in the morning.’
But that can’t be the only reason. Another possible factor is that the partners of highly educated women are more likely to be willing to share the responsibilities of raising a family; the idea of a male breadwinner isn’t so fixed as perhaps it is with the partners of less-educated women.
A third possibility is that successful women have been reaping the rewards in advances in fertility technology, so they are able to safely start families later in life. This is something we’re starting to see more – just look at the new Apple and Facebook employee fertility packages, in which they offer to freeze their staffs’ eggs.