Social connection and exclusion of Australian women with no children during midlife

Beth Turnbull, Melissa L Graham, Anne Taket

Abstract


Evidence indicates women with no children can experience pronatalism-driven stereotyping, stigmatisation and exclusion. This cross-sectional study described the social connection and exclusion of Australian women with no children during midlife (defined as aged 45 to 64 years). A total of 294 Australian midlife women with no children completed a self-administered online questionnaire. Data were collected on indicators of exclusion in the social, civic, service and economic domains of life, and perceived stereotyping, stigmatisation and exclusion due to having no children. Data were analysed using One Way ANOVAs, Kruskal Wallis Analyses of Ranks, Chi Square Tests for Independence and descriptive statistics. The findings indicate midlife women feel negatively stereotyped due to having no children. While the extent and quality of resources and participation vary between and within the domains of life, midlife women perceive more exclusion due to having no children in the social and civic domains than the service and economic domains. There are few differences between typologies of women with no children. It is essential to challenge pronatalism in Australian society in order to ensure all women have opportunities for connection in all domains of life, regardless of their motherhood status.

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