Recently, the CDC released a report stating that the U.S. birth rate has decreased drastically, actually falling the lowest it’s been in 30 years.
Why is that you might ask? Well, everyone seems to have their own opinion when it comes to this matter. The New York Times suggested that it might be related to women putting off having children to pursue their careers. Bloomberg suggested that it could possibly be tied to economic factors. Some conservatives believe it to be unrelated to either of these issues and maybe people are actually just having less sex due to pornography and social media. Lastly, Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson suggested that the lower birth rate might be tied to immigration, due to immigrant workers creating competition among the workforce and lowering wages, causing families not to form.
The truth is, we expect mothers to choose to have a child or a career, and that is not fair. Too often mothers in the workplace face discrimination for things as simple as needing to take a sick kid to the doctor’s or having morning sickness. While some companies offer great benefits to expecting mothers, there are still a number of companies that do not.
For some, especially those who are lower income, having a child isn’t even an option because they risk poverty if they do choose to start a family. On the other hand, women in some of the highest earning jobs in the United States choose to put off starting a family due to the fact that they fear pay cuts, delayed raises, and possibly sacrificing their whole career path.
Here’s some food for thought: why don’t we regulate our labor policies more than we regulate women’s bodies? If we’re being quite honest here, I’ve heard a lot more news in the past 6 months regarding abortion and birth control than I have about providing families the resources that they need in order to be able to raise and sustain a family.
If we really care about children, why don’t we make the process of getting leave from work easier for expecting families? Why not stop biases against parents in the workplace all together? After all, starting a family should be one of the happiest moments of one’s life, right?