Graduate high school, go to college, begin a career, and then start a family - it sounds good in theory, but is it really optimal for women to live on a man’s timeline?
Women may be making more headway in gaining equality in the areas of social and economic freedom, but just because the gap of inequality is getting smaller, it doesn’t mean that our bodies are able to adapt to the new changes.
The push for women to be able to live on a male-centric timeline may sound good on paper, but is it ideal? The current idea of success for women includes delaying family life in hopes of having a better education and a high-grossing career, but this has set many women back as far as their reproductive chances go.
The push for women to be able to live on a male-centric timeline may sound good on paper, but is it ideal?
How Socioeconomic Status Influences Us
According to a study published by the New York Times, a women’s socioeconomic status plays a role in her age at her first conception, and there is a growing trend in women waiting longer to start a family because of her career. The study was done over a span of the past three decades, and it reports that women who come from a higher socioeconomic background are having children later, with the average age being 30 at their first child’s birth.
Women with lower socioeconomic standing averaged 23 years-old when they became a first-time mother, a seven-year difference from their career-minded counterparts. Interestingly, the study also highlighted the difference in cultural acceptance of motherhood among women in the 1980s compared to now, and what was traditionally seen as bringing women together, is now a dividing factor.
The “Peak” of a Woman’s Life
When men graduate college and begin their careers, which is typically in their early twenties, women are expected to do the same. Unfortunately, this time span is during a woman’s peak fertility. Women are born with a set number of eggs in their ovaries, and during their late teens and through their 20s, the chances for a woman to conceive are at the highest and these chances gradually decrease as the woman ages.
Since more and more women are choosing to have children after they’ve begun their careers, or have become more established (which is usually around the late twenties), they are choosing to start their families when their chances of conceiving naturally have already begun to decline. By age 45, the ability to conceive naturally without fertility treatment virtually disappears, thus making it more important for a woman to carefully consider her goals.
By age 45, the ability to conceive naturally without fertility treatment virtually disappears.
Ideals Are Changing
As the gap of inequality for women is gradually closing, women have the option to be the sole breadwinner just as easily as a man, but should she really consider “doing it all” during the same time period that men usually do?
While there are many options for women to better themselves and find fulfillment in a career, there should be more liberty for women to choose to have a family over a career during their early twenties - instead of being pulled into a nine to five position.
We have shifted the focus from building a solid family structure to building our individual success, but this can have negative consequences on our children’s future, as numerous studies have shown. Children who have one parent at home tend to fare better in life and have less stress and aggression in society compared to children with two working parents. If we truly wish to see a better future, it would make sense to try and shape our children to be healthy and happy however we can.
Female success doesn’t always have to look like a man’s.
Ultimately, the choice is up to each woman. But the decision to either pursue a career right out of college or to wait to begin her career or even to focus solely on her family should not be frowned upon. Because the truth is, every woman does have to decide when and if she wants to start a family. Just remember, female success doesn’t always have to look like a man’s.