Make us your home page

More working women delay or forgo having children

A recent Pew Research Center report on social and demographic trends found that almost 20 percent of American women in their early 40s are childless. What's more, they say that trend has almost doubled since the 1970s and they call it a "social and cultural shift."

Headlines around the world tell the same story. out of Australia states that Australian women are "increasingly putting off motherhood well into their 30s." Even in China, talks about women waiting much later to have children and Britain's Sunday Times recently reported on "a generation of women bred to work."

So what's going on? Education and greater career opportunities are two reasons so many women are postponing, or even skipping, motherhood. Half of the American work force is female and more women than men are earning college degrees. The Atlantic magazine recently reported that women hold 60 percent of all master's degrees, half of the law and medical degrees, and 42 percent of the MBAs. While careers for women were once limited to teaching, nursing and a few other areas, today's U.S. business world is pretty much open to women in all fields. These opportunities give women more economic freedom than ever before and many are delaying marriage or not marrying at all. Some who don't marry will have children of their own; some will adopt, but most will remain childless.

Many women say they haven't intentionally put off motherhood. Instead, they, like many of their male counterparts, found themselves caught up in climbing up the corporate ladder or starting their own businesses. Before they realized it, the traditional childbearing years had ticked by.

The economy is another factor. Couples here in America and in most industrialized countries depend on two paychecks. Many women are concerned that "dropping out of the work force" to have children will derail their career and endanger their ability to earn the income they trained for and that their family has come to need. Also, the expense of raising and educating a child in giving a lot of couples second thoughts about becoming parents.

What does all this mean for business in the future? Expect more women in the work force. Expect more women to stay on the job and to grow their careers without time-outs on the "mommy track" of childbearing and child raising.

Also, expect more female entrepreneurship — between 1997 and 2002 women-owned businesses grew by more than 20 percent — as women start their own businesses. Female entrepreneurs cite control, life and family balance, greater economic opportunity and helping others as the main reasons they created their own businesses.

Marie Stempinski is founder and president of Strategic Communication in St. Petersburg. She specializes in public relations, marketing, business trends and employee motivation consulting. She can be reached at

More working women delay or forgo having children 01/23/11 [Last modified: Sunday, January 23, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park


    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers


    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]