The Null Device

The Australian woman's reproductive duty to society

Journalism researcher Nina Funnell recounts her encounter with Australian PM Kevin Rudd:
At that point one of my friends introduced me, dropping in that I am completing a PhD. At this, Rudd rolled his eyes and in a terse voice lacking any sense of irony remarked that is the "excuse" that "all" young women are using nowadays to avoid starting families. Since then I've come up with numerous one-line retorts, but in the moment I just froze in shock.
It would appear that, in post-Howard Australia, there is an increasing tendency to treat women who shirk their childbearing duties as demographic bludgers of sorts, freeloaders who are cheating society of what they owe it.
Similarly women who do not wish to have children should also not be punished or labelled non-maternal. As a young woman I find it frustrating to see women like Gillard constantly attacked and ascribed derogatory labels like ''empty fruit bowl'', as though her worth is a sole function of her ability and inclination to reproduce.
This is not unprecedented across societies; other states have, in the past, rewarded fertile women and punished those who shirked their reproductive duty to society. Mind you, those other states have included Ceaucescu's Romania and Nazi Germany, and are probably not a club Australia should seek to join.

There are 4 comments on "The Australian woman's reproductive duty to society":

Posted by: bkpr Mon Feb 15 23:38:42 2010

Romania and Germany? Might not be that far off since we're looking like following China's lead on internet censorship. But, from another point of view, women are the ONLY ones who can give birth to children. I'm all for individuals to make up their own mind, but I imagine it would be easier for women to say (to men like Rudd) "Well, I want my degree, YOU have the child". Alas, they cannot.

Posted by: Greg Tue Feb 16 03:29:48 2010

I'm glad you blogged this as it saves me from venting on someone's FB wall ... The PM's attitude is wrong in several ways: 1. Stop telling women they have to have babies. You and TFA covered this problem in some detail. 2. Many people of all ages use energy-sapping projects to put off major decisions / directions about which they are uncertain. This not restricted to women, or 30-somethings, or for that matter the PhD. 3. The idea that Australia can solve one baby-boom by creating another is fallacious. We had a population boom after WW2, which meant that we had many teenagers in the 60s, forty-somethings in the 80s, and now retirees in the 2010s. If we can hold out a little longer, and not panic about funding their pensions, the problem will disappear through natural attrition. If on the other hand we do what the politicians are asking, panic about all those oldies draining the public purse, and create another baby boom to service them, we will simply restart the problem for a future generation to solve.

Posted by: Cordell Dumling Tue Feb 16 07:41:53 2010

This sounds like some sort of homosexual-agenda propoganda to me. Besides which, your link to the supposed article isn't happening.

Posted by: acb Tue Feb 16 09:44:06 2010

The link is fixed.