Re: Lower fertility rates are the new cultural norm
Written by Olivia Nater | Published: March 29, 2023
We submitted the following letter to the editor on March 29, 2023, and are sharing it below since it wasn’t published by The Washington Post.
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Charles Lane is right to point out that low fertility rates are here to stay (“Lower fertility rates are the new cultural norm,” March 29, 2023), but I am surprised that he failed to mention the main reason: women gaining more choices over their bodies and lives. When women are free to control their fertility, and pursue higher education and careers, they typically choose to have small families. While financial incentives for parents, such as subsidized daycare, are beneficial because they improve lives, they cannot bring back the high fertility rates associated with extreme gender inequality.
It is high time for governments to stop fretting over low birth rates and instead welcome them, not only as a sign of women’s emancipation, but also as a critical step towards a more sustainable future. Continuous population growth on a finite planet can only lead to disaster.