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Motherhood and Maternity

Motherhood In Academia And National Policy

Although millions of women in the world become mothers, motherhood generally is not regarded in academia as a core issue relating to society and the nation-state. Some universities, such as York University in Ontario, Canada, are beginning to study motherhood as an academic discipline, yet much of the research looks at the psychological and sociological aspects. Feminists argue that if motherhood is viewed as a historical experience, it will be evident that it is shaped not just by personal experiences and desires but also by public policy in which the nation-state plays a significant role.

From the discussion above, which draws upon the heritage, traditions, literature, and art from various cultures, it may not be far-fetched to suggest that the failure of institutionalized religions to give women a visible and valid role has traditionally led many women to seek dignity and self-respect, salvation and status, in society through birthing and motherhood, a role and path unique to them. In the new millennium, however, the emerging reality, especially in the industrialized countries, is of a falling birth rate. As millions of women join the global workforce, as more and more women gain control over their lives and bodies, and as motherhood becomes one of many acceptable identities and choices, it would seem that fewer women become mothers (and those that do raise fewer children). The birth rate in Japan has been falling steadily since the 1970s. On average, the first postwar generation had four children, and the second, two. Trends in Europe are also alarming. Such statistical projections are causing concern to government planners and national policy-makers in many countries. If women increasingly begin to feel that the challenges outweigh the "joys of motherhood," demographers may well predict for the rapidly industrializing world a future of restructured family norms, labor shortages, fewer taxpayers to support a rapidly aging society, and fewer caregivers for the elderly.

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Maina Chawla Singh

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Molecular distillation to My station and its duties:Motherhood and Maternity - History, Religion, And Myth, Feminist Critiques, Motherhood And Development Discourses, Contentious Debates