Not only high costs are stopping Chinese women from getting more children, as the government wants them to for offsetting the dramatic aging process of the country, writes journalist Zhang Lijia, author of Lotus, a novel, on prostitution in China, in the South China Morning Post. “The reality is far more complex. One important reason, in my view, is that women have changed. They don’t care to be only the reproductive tool of the family or the state,” she writes.
Why don’t Chinese want more babies? The high cost of raising children is often cited as the main reason. Expensive housing, education and health care make raising children a costly business.
But the reality is far more complex. One important reason, in my view, is that women have changed. They don’t care to be only the reproductive tool of the family or the state.
A large percentage of today’s women of childbearing age are from the one-child generation, who have grown up in an affluent society and enjoyed the lavish attention of their parents and grandparents. They tend to be assertive people who dare to pursue their own dreams. Many urban women are well educated and career-minded.
The story Jojo Zhang, a 36-year-old bank manager in Beijing, narrates is quite typical. Zhang was one of the women who responded to a post I put up on WeChat, looking for women to interview who have given motherhood a miss.
An only child, she had loving parents and a happy childhood. But she never had a burning desire to have children. About 10 years ago, some of her friends got married and started to have children. Few found the experience rewarding. “It just takes too much time and energy,” they advised her. “Don’t bother having children.” She took it to heart.
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