David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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People and Place 12 (1):37-45 (2004)
Australian women who are university graduates have fewer children than non-graduates. In most cases this appears to be the result of circumstantial pressures not preference. Long years of study fill the most fertile years of women students and new graduates need further time to establish their careers. The chance of medical infertility increases with age so, for some, this means that childbearing is not postponed but ruled out. Graduates who do make the transition from university to professional work find that working hours are long and that professional occupations are now both highly demanding and insecure. Women who take time off to care for young children must depend on one insecure income (their partner’s) rather than two, and their return to work is uncertain. These difficulties of time, money and insecurity are compounded by problems in finding a suitable partner. They are magnified by the enduring tendency of women to marry up. Thus it can be more difficult for women graduates to find husbands than it is for women who are non-graduates.
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